CJID highlights issues that might affects electoral process

Nigeria’s General elections that commenced today 25th of February, 2023 has so far witnessed series new developments.

In a statement released by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), there had been issues that might later factor in in the overall outcome of the electoral processes.

The Election Analysis Centre of CJID had as early as 7.am today February 25th, deployed 60 observers to 32 states of the federation. 

The observers have the mandate to trickle in real-time field reports, and they are expected to remain on the fields until the close of polls and the announcement of results.

According to the reports so far, distress issues bothering around logistics, insecurity, press freedom, information disorder, BVAS and accreditation challenges have inundated the group’s elections’ analysis centre and platforms.

Logistics and Opening of Voting

The Centre reports that as at about 9.00am, election materials got to most of the polling units. However, not until 11:20 am, polling units such as PU05 Marina/Cowbell uni OF Calabar South LGA in Cross River State had not commenced voting proper.

“Only 15 per cent of the polling units observed started election processes before 8:30am; about 64 per cent started between 8:31 am to 11:00 am and 21 per cent started after 11:00 am. The earliest time recorded for accreditation was 7:40:00 am, and the latest time recorded is 12:30 pm.”

The centre also raised concerns over the inadequate deployment of assistive devices for People Leaving with Disabilities (PWDs). The report mentioned states such as Kwara and Niger with obvious cases of the issue.

Information Disorder/ ‘Fake News’

The Centre also reports that the elections have witnessed cases of deliberate disinformation and ‘fake news’ According to its observation, “a number of ‘fake news’ in circulation across multiple platforms. Among others, there were reports that electorates can locate their polling units by sending their  PVC 9-digit code to 8014. This was found to be false. INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, has advised the public to disregard the claim and rely only on official communication from the Commission.”

BVAS Accreditation

According to the centre, “In some polling units in Oyo, Lagos,  Borno and Lokoja, CJID observers reported incidence of BVAS malfunctioning leading to difficulties in accrediting voters in the early hours of today. Network fluctuations hindered the work of election officers at PU 009 in Rivers State in the early hours of the day resulting in agitation among voters.”

Security Issues

The Centre also says it has “not received any major security complaints aside from the harassment of an observer at 008-Abba Kenken, Plateau state by INEC  ad hoc staff, party agents and security agents. Rowdiness that accompanies queueing to be accredited was recorded in some polling units.” CJID, however, “commends the security officials and hopes this level of calm will be sustained.”

Against all these issues, the Centre, however emboldens the need by the security personnel as well as the INEC to ensure citizens are not denied of their electoral rights.

CJID is in partnership with Twentyten Daily with 17 other media houses for collaborative real-time elections’ observations and monitoring.

Related post