Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has commended security agencies for the high level of professionalism they have so far shown in the Anambra governorship election.
Dr Saeed Husaini, Director, Research, CDD, at a news conference on the Centre’s election analysis on Saturday in Abuja urged them to sustain the humane approach to election security through the voting, collation, and announcement of results.
Husaini observed that although there were pockets of reports indicating the absence or low presence of security officials, there had been no widespread reports of misconduct by security officials deployed for the elections.
He said that CDD noted that this was a noteworthy development considering that the expectation of intimidation and abuse from state security officials was a source of heightened concern ahead of the elections.
“In spite of threats by non-state armed groups and concerns over the heavy deployment of security agents, very few incidents of intimidation and violence have been reported defying the context of fear and uncertainty that preceded Election Day.
“In spite of the heavy deployment of state security agents, observers have noted a surprisingly scanty presence of security personnel in numerous reports from across the state.
“Where security agents have been present, reports indicate that they have largely respected rules of engagement and acted with professionalism.
“This is highly commendable and we hope that this mode of engagement with voters is sustained till the end of the electoral process. ‘’
Husaini said that likewise, the withdrawal of the sit at home order pronounced by proscribed IPOB contributed to the opening of the polls and the relatively peaceful atmosphere witnessed.
He said that the centre observed persistent incidents of the failure of the Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS), lateness of officials in commencing accreditation and polling, electoral malpractice including vote-buying among others.
He added that the one repeated occurrence that threatened to mar the quality of the election outcome had been the widely reported failure of the BIVAS across numerous polling units in the state.
He said that CDD observers recorded a low turnout of voters across the state ,noting that this reflected the climate of uncertainty leading up to the election, as well as the historically high levels of voter apathy that have been recorded in the state.
He said that CDD having observed the elections therefore, recommended that security agencies to continue to respect human rights and standard rules of engagement and to secure voters as well as INEC staff and infrastructure.
“We call on civic and pro-democracy groups to remain vigilant, especially during the collation and announcement of voting results.
“We urge INEC and its officials to ensure the diligent accounting of votes, especially since voting collation will likely stretch into the night.’’
Husaini said that the centre implored voters to remain calm and, where possible, to monitor the outcome of the polls up to the announcement of the results.
The director said that the centre called on political parties to remain calm and to do nothing to compromise the integrity of the election.
Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Senior Fellow, CDD said that the centre expressed gladness that the election did not result to national emergency or security crisis adding that “That is an achievement already.’’
Ibrahim however, said that CDD urged INEC to properly train its officials in the use of its BVAS devices as the failure or malfunctioning of the device could be linked to lack of knowledge.
Ms Princess Hamman-Obels,Director,The Electoral Hub and an Analyst at CDD’s Election Analysis Centre ,said that so far so good the centre was satisfied with the process of the election.
According to Hamman-Obels, elections are about procedures and processes and it is rated based on that adding that so far things are moving in the right direction in spite of failure of the BVAS machine in some cases.
“For now, we are satisfied with the procedure,” she said.