January 17, 2022

Anambra Poll: CLEEN Foundation, Others Score Election Process Low Yemi Akinsuyi

By Yemi Akinsuyi, 9 November 2021

The Election Security Support Centre (ESSC) of CLEEN Foundation, in collaboration with the Police Service Commission (PSC) and People’s Gazette have observed that the conduct of the Anambra State Governorship Election held on Saturday 6thNovember, 2021 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was low.

This post-election report, according to the Acting Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Mrs Ruth Olofin, at a press conference on the findings on the election, said was informed by the analysis of the polls from its commencement to its conclusion for the 6th of November, 2021.

Mrs Olofin said CLEEN Foundation observed that the election was visibly marked with logistics and operational challenges with regards to the distribution of election materials and late arrival of INEC officials across most of the polling units.

These challenges, she said, led to late opening of the polls in some polling units, the extension of the polls from 2.30pm–4.30pm and subsequent disenfranchisement of some electorates due to unavailability of election materials and INEC Officials.

Continuing, she said: “We also observed that the election marked a huge improvement in terms of the deployment of security personnel across most polling units and their conduct on election duty.

The Nigeria Police Force deployed a total of 34,587 police personnel, while the Nigeria Security and civil Defence Corps deployed about 20,000 personnel to provide security for the elections and electorates and to maintain law and order during the voting process in the state.

“Findings from our accredited observers deployed indicated that the election was generally peaceful as against initial fears of security threats and their potentials to disrupt the elections.

You will recall in the build-up to the election, the atmosphere in Anambra State was characterized by heightened tension, inflammatory statements and violent clashes amongst political actors including killings of persons in some parts of the state

“It is worthy to note that 43% of the respondents interviewed during the CLEEN Foundation Election Security Threat Assessment conducted in Anambra ahead of the election believed that the election will be peaceful while another 15% indicated that it will be very peaceful.

We commend Ndi Anambra and all the stakeholders who made this possible. However, despite the peaceful nature of the election, we observed a low turnout of voters despite the relatively high number of registered voters in various polling units across the state. Strikingly, there was no election in Ihiala LGA which has over 148,000 registered voters. Hence, the election has been declared inconclusive by INEC in the early hours of Monday 8th November, 2021, at around 12.20am.”
CLEEN Foundation commended INEC for making the voting process inclusive through prioritization of persons living with disability, the elderly and pregnant women who were made to vote first during the election. Adding that the professionalism and dedication shown by most of its ad-hoc staff despite challenging circumstances should be replicated in future elections. “We also commend the prompt response of INEC’s Situation Room to incidences escalated to them especially by the CLEEN Foundation Team.

However, the failure of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in some polling units was a key operational challenge during the polls. “While the introduction of the technology is with a view to improve the electoral process and voter authentication, INEC should seek to address these challenges before further their utilization in future elections.

Finally, we commend the Commission’s technical teams who were seen swiftly responding to some of these technical challenges as they arose. ”

The NGO enjoined electorates in Ihiala LGA to turnout en-mass to exercise their franchise in the supplementary election to hold 9th of November, 2021.

“They should exercise patience whenever INEC has challenges with technology and internet connection. They should also remain calm throughout the process and to the formal declaration of the winner of the election”, CLEEN Foundation stated.

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