Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Pan-African Women Projects, a foreign election observer group from South Africa, has lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the way it conducted the 2019 general election in Nigeria.
Also, the group commended various security agencies for carrying out their duties very professionally during the presidential and National Assembly as well as the governorship and House of Assembly elections especially in Ebonyi State.
The group said that when compared to other general elections held in the country in recent times, INEC had improved greatly.
Leader of the group in Ebonyi State, Lebogang Mkhize, while presenting a communiqué on it findings at a post election press conference held in Abakaliki, rated INEC highly, saying the election was free, fair and credible.
“The gubernatorial election of 2019 had an impressive turnout when compared to the presidential poll. There were some improvements recorded in the overall conduct of the election. For example, the proficiency of the card reader was much better than in the last election,” she said.
Regardless of the success stories, the group expressed its displeasure with some pockets of violence recorded in some areas in the state where electoral materials were set ablaze by suspected political thugs with the aim of disrupting the entire process.
The foreign observers recommended that there was need for aggressive civic sensitisation campaign to be carried out by INEC, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the state governments on social values and civic responsibilities in order to move the country forward.
“From our assessment as a neutral body in the entire elections, the presidential poll of February 23 and the gubernatorial election of March 9, 2019, in Ebonyi State, Nigeria, met the international standard requirement in spite of some few challenges and pockets of violence recorded in few places.
“The election therefore can be categorically adjudged and declared to be free, fair, and credible,” the communiqué added.
Meanwhile, the group’s Head of Mission, Dr (Mrs) Eben Udensi, commended the National Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for conducting what she described as free, fair, and credible election in most parts of the country even as she tasked the electoral body to ensure there would be improvements in the future elections.