The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the conduct of the governorship election outside the electoral cycle in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states. The group noted that despite the concerns raised and a number of issues surrounding the off-cycle gubernatorial election, the election commission’s delegation is commendable.
She also praised anti-corruption and other security agencies for arresting those responsible for reported cases of fraud and voter suppression attempts during the elections. The group’s reaction to the conduct of the non-routine election was contained in a statement by its Deputy Secretary for National Publicity, Comrade James Ezema. According to the group, “Nigeria’s elections can still be better conducted if INEC does not abdicate its key role as an impartial electoral judge in favor of viewing itself as an active, partisan poll participant with a predetermined outcome.
“This is the only way to improve citizen participation and increase their confidence in the electoral process, which will deepen democracy in the country.” Calling for the prosecution of individuals and groups involved in any form of abuse or vote buying during the exercise, the CNPP said: “INEC and all security agencies should ensure the speedy prosecution of perpetrators of electoral crimes to minimize acts of violence and vote buying in future elections in Nigeria.”
Expressing concern over reports of kidnapping of INEC officials in Bayelsa State, the umbrella body of all registered political parties and associations in the country has advised politicians to always “see INEC officials as judges who should not be exposed to any form of brutal attack.” While congratulating the re-elected Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, the CNPP noted that “the delay in the collation and announcement of the results of the Bayelsa State governorship election which was held in only eight local government areas compared to over 20 local governments in Imo and Kogi states should be a source of concern for all stakeholders in the state.”
The group also congratulated Governors Hope Uzodimma and Ahmed Ododo who won in Imo and Kogi State respectively. On the re-election of the Imo governor, the CNPP said: “During the election campaign, Governor Uzodimma’s victory was repeatedly predicted. That’s why we congratulate him. “Politics is a numbers game and in this type of competition there can only be one winner.
We urge members of the public to maintain peace and any aggrieved party or individual should explore legal options for redress.” Also congratulating Ododo on his announcement as the Governor-elect of Kogi State, the CNPP advised him to take into account all cross-sections of political and tribal divisions in the state when assuming office. “We call on the incoming administration to hold all tribes and sections accountable and take actions that will better unite the people in the state,” it said.