Polls witness marked improvement in arrival of INEC officials compared with the Presidential and National Assembly elections, but characterised with large reports of low voter turnout
Following feedback from our observers deployed across the country, we can report that accreditation and voting commenced early in most of the sampled polling units as of 10.30 am, Saturday, 18th March 2023.
This is in light of the fact that the guidelines by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stipulate that accreditation of voters commences at 8:30 am, after which voting takes place immediately.
Compared with the Presidential and National Assembly elections, there is a marked improvement in the arrival of INEC officials for the Governorship and State Assembly elections. The average time of arrival and opening of polling units stood generally at 9:00 am in many parts of the country.
Similarly, from observation of the data collated thus far, the voting process has been described as largely smooth and peaceful by our citizen observers, especially in select polling units in states like Kebbi, Anambra, Oyo, Nasarawa and Niger.
However, according to the statement released by Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq, Communications Lead for the VOTER Project, there are large reports of low voter turnout resulting from voter intimidation by thugs, political party agents and voter apathy linked to perceived mismatch of voting and results announced in the February 25 elections. States such as Enugu, Niger, Plateau, Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Adamawa, Taraba and Jigawa have recorded the lowest voter turnout going by feedback received so far.
“There are also reports of political party agents trying to influence vote buying and selling in states like Cross River, Adamawa, Ogun, Ondo and Imo. Particularly in Imo, there were some cases of systematic vote-buying.
On the whole, while INEC appeared to have deployed early across many of the polling units sampled, the issue of voter suppression was flagged, especially as thugs have been reported to disrupt voting and deploy violent intimidation to prevent voters from coming to cast their vote in some areas in Lagos, Oyo, Nassarawa, and Imo, among others,” the statement read.
OrderPaper, Nigeria’s premier and pre-eminent policy think-tank/legislative interface, has deployed some 400 observers to monitor the 2023 Governorship and State Assembly elections nationwide. The deployment was effected as early as 7.00 am on Saturday, March 18 2023.
This follows the setting up of a 24-hour Legislative Election Situation Room to receive reports from the field and disseminate real-time reports to voters and stakeholders at large.
OrderPaper will release a consolidated statement at the end of the exercise.