ACTIONAID Nigeria has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the improvements recorded in the area of logistics and functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) during Saturday’s elections.
It said the BVAS functioned adequately in 80 per cent of polling units across the country.
ActionAid Nigeria Programme Director, Governance, Celestine Odo, said this while presenting reports from its election observation at a news conference in Abuja.
Odo said that Saturday’s election was a great improvement on the 25 February presidential and National Assembly elections.
“The conduct of the election was impressive given the early arrival of election materials; we observed that deployment of election materials in states started since Wednesday.
“This was great compared to the deployment of materials that started on Friday during presidential election.
“Regrettably, the voter turnout for the election was low, it is obvious that voter apathy has set in given what happened during the last election,” he said.
Odo said because of naira scarcity, political parties resorted to vote buying in states like Kano with wrappers and food items, while in Rivers and Enugu states, it was done in different forms.
“From the reports we are getting, we did not see much of cash exchange, what we are told is vote buying with wrappers, food items, chicken among others,” he said.
Odo said there were pockets of violence in 10 locations recorded in Rivers, Kano and Lagos states.
ActionAid Nigeria Director of Programmes, Suwaiba Dankabo, said voter turn-out, including women, was low but hailed security presence at the polling units.
Andrew Mamedu, director of Resource Mobilisation and Innovation at ActionAid Nigeria, added that overall, the turnout of voters was lower than in the presidential election.
Mr Mamedu said that was why civil society organisations have been advocating for the conduct of elections in states before national.
He said the election should be bottom-up so as to sustain the momentum.
The director also said there were reports of voter suppression and intimidation, as well as disruption of elections in some polling units.
He, however, said the security agencies responded well and supported citizens to exercise their franchise. (NAN)