ELECTIONS: EU bemoans ‘systemic weaknesses’ as protests trail polls
The EU Election Observation Mission has lamented the weaknesses and issues which plagued the recently-concluded elections in Nigeria.
Barry Andrews, Chief Observer of the Mission, made this observation on Monday, during a news conference in Abuja.
Saturday’s governorship elections were conducted in 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states which were not affected by electoral disputes in previous votes.
Despite the police imposing several security measures including restrictions on vehicle movements, numerous incidents were reported on Saturday in Lagos where some polling stations were attacked by gangs who also snatched ballot papers.
The highly contested elections have led to ethnic tension among supporters of the main candidates, with some sharing online how they were prevented from voting because of their identity or party affiliation.
Similar attacks and alleged discrimination were also reported in Sokoto state in the north-west, Kano in the north, and Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta.
During the media briefing, the EU spokesman revealed that the violence were caused by systemic weaknesses fostered by stakeholders, while journalists were also attacked.
Read also:Election observers decry inadequate security presence as violence, vote-buying mar Nigeria’s elections
Nonetheless, Andrews clarified that it was too soon to issue a concrete judgement regarding reports of irregularities.
He also lauded factcheckers who strove to ensure the process was hitch-free
“The 2023 elections revealed systemic weaknesses which could cause democratic backsliding and could have huge ramifications across the continent.
“However, it is too soon to draw a pattern on whether there are valid grounds for irregularities regarding the BVAS.
“Fact checkers scrutinized for accuracy and made voters made informed choices but attacks on journalists went unchecked and we hope it is redressed.
“Various tribal rhetorics dominated the online space but fact checkers strove to ensure the truth.
“The collation process is still ongoing and the EU is still monitoring and I implore stakeholders to seek redress through court. Various aspects and petitions will still be submitted; this mission maintains impartiality and non-interference regarding the situation. This is to about any attempt to misconstrue as being behind a particular party or candidate.”
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