Some domestic observer groups, that participated in observations’ for the gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Kaduna State have said the said elections as monitored was generally marred with irregularities and the Non usage of Smart Card Readers (SCR) in most local government areas of the State.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, leader of the domestic observes Professor Banake Sambo
of the Initiative for the Promotion of Civic Obligations and Sustainable Peace (INPROCOSUP) said the report was a product of the observer groups observation by their members deployed to 189 Registration Areas (Wards) in the 23 local government areas of Kaduna states.
Other members of domestic observer groups who addressed newsmen include Sani Umar of the Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiative,
Dr. Usman Kabiru of Centre for Strategy Ethics and Value and Felicia U. Kwawo of Women Empowerment for Global Impact Initiative.
The observer groups in their presentation underscored the significance of the state level polls for the strengthening of democracy in Kaduna State in particular and Nigeria in general, stressing that “We seek to provide accurate and unbiased report on the electoral process from the polling units, wards, local government and state collation centers.
“During the gubernatorial and state assembly elections in Kaduna state, it was obvious that, there was significant improvement in the distribution of election materials from the state to local government areas, from local government areas to registration areas, and to polling units. In general, voting commenced in most of the places on scheduled time, compared to the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on the February 23, 2019.
“Our delegation observed that, the elections were marred by irregularities, instances of intimidation, vote buying, violent acts during voting, counting and collation of results as reported in some places. However, no loss of life was reported anywhere as a result of the elections day violence.
“The actions and impunity with which some electoral actors conducted themselves, using the military, INEC officials and polling agents, subvert citizen confidence in elections and threaten the legitimacy of the outcome of the elections.
“The distribution of election materials was timely, cases of insufficient election materials was minimal and voting commenced peacefully and calmly in places where elections held. However, election materials meant for 7 polling units in Haskiya ward, Kubau local government area were hijacked by some of the political actors and no election took place in the said polling units. Despite that and surprisingly, election results were collated and declared at the collation center, under the protection of armed security personnel.
“Voter turnout was significantly low in comparison with that of Presidential and National Assembly election. As the elections progressed, our members observed irregularities in the voting processes; vote buying and voter inducement, metres away from the polling units were witnessed in some polling units in Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Ikara, Kubau and Kachia where supplementary election for House of Representatives was conducted; Igabi, Giwa, Zaria, Kagarko, Lere, Soba and Kauru.
“Non-usage of card reader characterized the election in Yakawada, Idasu, Giwa, Shika, Kakangi and Guga wards of Giwa local government area. Moreso, some polling units in Zaria, Sabongari, Ikara, Lere, Igabi, Soba, Kaduna South, and Kaduna North were not exempted.
“Incidents of snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes were recorded in 13 polling units in Magajin Gari III of Birnin Gwari Local Government Area. Such cases were reported to the police by our members, but they decided not to act promptly. Instances of voters and agent’s intimidation; and violent acts aided by the military were noted in Kwasallo ward in Soba Local government area; the military led by senior local council official disrupted voting, unleashed terror and carted away ballot boxes in some of the polling units in Ikara, Fala, Sayasaya, Kurmin Kogi, Rumi Auchan, Kuya, Paki, Jamfalan and saulawa wards in Ikara local Government area. Some of our observers fell victims of these attacks.
“In Yakawada, Idasu, Giwa, Shika and Kakangi wards in Giwa Local Government Area, the same reports of incidences were recorded by our staff. Apparently, the observer groups identified most of the manipulations, irregularities, falsification of results, harassments and intimidation of party agents, observer groups and the media at the collation centers, at the local government levels.
“In Ikara, Jamfalan, Fala, Kurmin Kogi, Rumi, Auchan and Paki wards in Ikara local government area; Tudun wada, Ungwan Fatika and ungwan Juma wards in Zaria local Government Area; Pambeguwa and Haskiya wards in Kubau Local Government Area; Idasu, Kakangi, Yakawada, Giwa and Shika wards of Giwa Local Government Area; Hayin Banki/Ungwan Kanawa and Maiburuji wards in Kaduna North Local Government Areas; Kukuyi ward in Kagarko Local Government Area; Kwasallo ward in Soba local government area; and Makera constituency collation centres, security agents in collaboration with political actors prevented or chased away observers from collation centres in the places mentioned above. These gave some political actors the cover to manipulate and rig elections in the mentioned areas.
“It is instructive and perplexing that, despite the apparent low voter turnout across the state, number of accredited voters, and votes scored by the two major political parties are higher than those recorded during the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on the February 23, 2019”.