PRELIMINARY STATEMENT ON OBSERVATION OF THE FCT AREA COUNCIL ELECTION HELD ON 12TH FEBRUARY 2022 BY CENTRE FOR TRANSPARENCY ADVOCACY

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  • PRELIMINARY STATEMENT ON OBSERVATION OF THE FCT AREA COUNCIL ELECTION HELD ON 12TH FEBRUARY 2022 BY CENTRE FOR TRANSPARENCY ADVOCACY

Issued: 4pm 12/2/2022 at FCT, Abuja.

Protocols:

Gentlemen of the Press,

Today marks another watershed in the electoral history of Nigeria. The FCT Area Council Election about now is being concluded at different polling units. This election is as significant as any other election in Nigeria hence the importance attached to it by INEC and civil society that deployed observers across the length and breath of the FCT. Results are being collated about now at various units while we await the final results to be announced by INEC. As per our tradition, this is a preliminary report from our field observation while a conclusive report will be sent to you later.

the CTA deployed 150 election observers to various polling units across the 6 Area Councils in the FCT. Our preliminary observation report is as follows.

Time of arrival of INEC Officials and materials

On the average, reports from our observers deployed to the field indicated that INEC Officials and materials in most places arrived late as about 8:50 am. There were however some exceptions where officials and materials arrived early between 7:47 – 8:30am.

It was noted that materials eventually arrived in some Polling Units in the furthest parts of the State at about 9.54 am. A major reason for the late arrival could be attributed to the late movement of materials from the RACs to polling units as was observed at the Supper RAC at Government Secondary School Garki.

Time of commencement of accreditation and voting

Most of the reports from our observers indicated that on the average voter accreditation and voting commenced between 9:30am and 10:00am. This is without prejudice to the few exceptions where voter accreditation and voting started as late as 12:00 am.

Our observers reported cases of slow BVAS functioning and malfunctioning which in turn made the voting process very slow and kept many waiting. This led to an agitated and tensed atmosphere in some instance. We noted that at some point when voters were advised to laugh the BVAS functioned better but most people didn’t understand it as being part of the process therefore declined instructions given.

Performance/Conduct of INEC Officials

CTA observers noted the cooperation of the INEC observers in ordination and maintaining peace but in some areas because of the massive voters turn out, they were Overwhelmed and agitated but still maintained their calm for a peaceful election atmosphere. We commend the ad-hoc staff for the preferences given to nursing mothers, women, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

There were complaints of congestions at polling units despite the creation of more polling units by INEC. It is important that citizens move to polling units with lesser numbers. However, INEC might decongest the polling units by allocating citizens to the newly created units.

Adhoc staff should be properly trained to operate the B-VAS While INEC should endeavor to deploy only trained adhoc staff and should not replace trained staff with untrained people as this has continued to jeopardize smooth electoral process,

Conduct of Security Agents

Generally, the security agents arrived on time. In many of the polling units, our observers reported security agents arriving before the commencement of the accreditation and voting.

On the average there were 3 security agents per polling unit. However, in some polling units the security personnel were under deployed but in most cases, they were overwhelmed by the population.

In general, the security personnel were professional in their conducts and deserve to be commended.

Voter turnout

voter turnout was largely impressive at the outskirt. There was however, low turnout of voters in the city centre with some polling units having just two voters such as PU 048 at Ubiaja crescent, Garki.

Conduct of Political Parties/Voters (Vote buying and vote selling)

Our observers reported cases of vote buying in some polling units with some selling as low as N500. For instance, at PU 007, CBN quarters Garki,

The sincerity of purpose of the political class to a free and credible election and strengthening of our democracy is again called to question. With every poll, the political class seem to be perfecting the art and strategy of vote buying

Conclusion

Finally, we commend INEC and all stakeholders for ensuring a peaceful election so far. We urge the Commission to note the several reasons why the BVAS malfunctioned and take steps to improve the performance in subsequent elections.

We do hope that the free and fair process will be replicated during the collation process, with the result expected to be electronically transmitted.

We also hope that all stakeholders and the police will continue to maintain law and order until the results are announced

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