The Executive Secretary of a non governmental organisation known as ‘Development and Integrity Intervention Goal foundation (DIG), Mr Ajah Chima Oliver, has called on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Ebonyi state, to clarify the disparities in the total number of registered voters discovered in the just concluded presidential and governorship election held on February 23, and March 9, 2019 respectively.
The organisation which was involved in an aggressive voter education and campaign against tension prior to the polls, monitored election activities across the 13 council areas of the state as part of its mandate.
Ajah, delivering his preliminary report of 2019 general election during post election dialogue sessions/debriefing between the Civil Society Observers at Hotel Geneza Abakaliki, noted that out of the 13 LGA in the state, only Abakaliki LGA in the presidential and National Assembly/governorship and states House of Assembly number of voters registered tarries .
He, however, described the abnormalities as fraudulent.
Ajah,who disclosed that its organisation trained and deployed no fewer than 330 domestic observers across the 171 wards in the state, decried the high level of voter inducement, violence, multiple voting and other forms of manipulation of the electoral process.
He also accused the INEC and some security agencies of compromising their professionalism in the just concluded general elections.
According to him ” the number of registered voters during the two elections in the 12 out of the 13 local government areas did not tally either positively or negatively with the exception of Abakaliki local government area which remained constant.
In Afikpo North and South for instance, the number were given as 101,456 and 72,343 respectively, during the presidential polls while in the governorship election but it changed to 101,599 and 75, 767 respectively.
In Ikwo, Ebonyi, Izzi, Ohaozara, Ishielu, Ohaukwu, Onicha, Ivo, Ezza South and Ezza North, the differences range betwen 140 to over 33, 000 voters in addition or reduction,” he said
However, the Executive Secretary of DIG applauded the INEC for their synergy with Civil Society Organisations and other monitoring groups during the elections which they described as the best in recent times.
Ajah, further maintained that the continuation of the anomalies which characterised the general elections is capable of making citizens lose interest in the country’s electoral process, as he called on INEC to make itself to be fully in charge rather than arrogating it’s powers to the Politicians.
His words: “We still need to ask INEC to explain why ward collation centres were undermined.
“All the ward collation centres across the state did not follow the prescribed steps, results were not announced, results were not pasted as required.
“INEC need to also clarify why the the number of registered voters, in a space of two weeks after presidential elections changed in almost all the LGAs, except Abakaliki.”
In his submissions, the State Coordinator, Coalition of Civil Society organisations, Kelechi Okezie, called on all stakeholders in the country’s electoral process to keep the faith in advocating for a reformed electoral system, in spite of the present odds.
He joined other groups in calling for the adoption of total electronic voting in the country’s future elections as the only panacea to the regular abnormalities in the process.
Recall that the DIG Foundation founded by Mr Ajah Chima Oliver, is one of the members of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room under partnership with the United Kingdom Department for International Development and he is also the state coordinator of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, YIAGA Africa, Centre for Democracy and Development, and Centre for Transparency Advocacy.