Lagos – The Coalition of Civil Society Election Observers Group has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to cancel the results of the Nov. 16 governorship poll in Bayelsa and conduct a fresh election.
The coalition Co-ordinator, Mr Olufemi Lawson, made the call at a news conference on Thursday in Ikeja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that INEC had declared Chief David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the election with 352,552 votes.
The commission also announced that Lyon’s closest rival, Sen. Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 143,172 votes in the election.
Lawson said the result should not be allowed to stand as it did not reflect the choice of Bayelsans.
He said reports by the coalition, comprising civil society groups which monitored the election and some other local and international observers, indicated that the election was not credible as it was characterised by irregularities.
The coordinator said there were many proven cases of violence during the election as well as many cases of ballot snatching and stuffing.
Lawson also said that there were widespread incidents of vote-buying during the election, adding that many residents were disenfranchised as a result of flooding in some communities.
Lawson said security agencies did not perform their expected responsibility to ensure the election was peaceful.
”We are miffed at the inability and failure of security agencies to intervene or try to stop hoodlums from perpetrating violence, especially in the snatching of ballot boxes and disruption of collation process at the polling units.
”The result of the election cannot be said to represent the aspirations of the genuine voters in the state and we therefore call for the cancellation of the results of the governorship election.
”We are sad that till this moment, not a single perpetrator or sponsor of the violence which characterised the election has been arrested, despite the huge damages, including the loss of lives experienced.
”We are also calling on all partners, particularly the international community to consider appropriate sanctions, including visa ban, for the perpetrators of violence in the elections and their sponsors,” he said.
Also speaking. Deputy President, Campaign for Democracy (CD), Mr Isreal Babatunde, said the conduct of Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections left much to be desired.
He said both elections were highly militarised and were marked by malpractices.
Babatunde said the governorship election in Bayelsa greatly fell short of democratic standards, adding that the result did not reflect the wish of the people.
”We are therefore calling for the cancellation of the election as the result did not reflect the wish of Bayelsans,” he said.
He said the conduct of both Kogi and Bayelsa elections should compel the need to reform the country’s electoral system for better polls.
Babatunde added that if what happened during both elections was anything to go by, INEC might not deliver credible elections in 2023.