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INEC Conducts Supplementary Elections in 18 States

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted supplementary elections in 18 States across Nigeria on Saturday, 23rd March 2019. Supplementary Governorship elections held in Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto States. Following the conduct of elections in these States, INEC declared four incumbent Governors winners of the polls in Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto States. In other States, the supplementary elections were for Federal and State legislative positions.

Situation Room observed the run off Governorship elections in five States and has issued statements on its findings. According to Situation Room, the elections were characterised by violence and high incidences of vote buying. It particularly noted widespread violence, intimidation and electoral abuse in Kano State. It however commended INEC on timely deployment of materials and commencement of polls.

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EOM) released a report following its observation of supplementary Governorship elections in five States, where it deployed teams to observe the conduct of the elections. The report states that extensive electoral security problems were observed, with “groups of men with weapons intimidating and obstructing the process and security agencies ineffective at protecting citizens’ right to vote.” The Mission also noted that parts of Kano State were largely inaccessible to its observers and citizen observers, with journalists being obstructed. It further stated that party agents interfered in the supplementary elections more than the two previous elections conducted. Commenting on the role of INEC, the statement highlighted an improvement in logistical arrangements and polls opening relatively early. The Smart Card Reader was said to have been used to accredit voters in all polling units observed but with manual accreditation procedures not always followed correctly where Card Reader authentication failed. According to the statement, “Given the high stakes and the reduced electorate involved, supplementary elections are systematically vulnerable to parties strategically pressuring voters and disrupting the process.”

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