- a quarter of the electorate were excellently impressed with the conduct of the ballots (27.1%)
- majority of the voters (64.6%) were somewhat satisfied.
- Only 8.2% rated the election poor or very poor.
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Election Working Group (NEWG) has disagreed with NBA President, Mr. Yakubu Maikyau SAN on the success of the recent General Elections.
Maikyau had in an interview with CHANNELS TV rated the election highly, saying: “Those who came out were happy to express their franchise. There were challenges, definitely.” He added that “on the whole, I will score INEC as having performed maybe about 78, 80 percent in the delivery of these elections. That will be an A for every exam, notwithstanding all the things that happened – which we are not ignoring.”
This led to a flurry of criticisms, with many lawyers saying that Maikyau spoke for himself and not for the Bar. Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Anselm Odinkalu also accused the NBA President of refusing to sign the official NEWG Report, a charge NBA Publicity Secretary Habeeb Lawal denied.
But in the official NEWG report signed by Maikyau and made available to CITY LAWYER, the NBA Observers stated that only 27.1 percent of voters “were excellently impressed with the conduct of the ballots.” Most voters (64.6%) said they were “somewhat satisfied” with the election while 8.2% of the electorate rated the poll as “poor or very poor.”
The report is titled “INTERIM REPORT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL & NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.” The observer team was chaired by Mrs. Linda Rose Bala, NBA 1st Vice President and “deployed over 1000 INEC accredited observers drawn from the 128 Branches of the NBA.”
The report noted that despite the challenges faced by INEC and voters at the polling stations, NBA observers “expressed some satisfaction” with the conduct of the election “but have also identified major challenges that should be addressed for future elections.”
Among the challenges identified by the NBA Observers were late arrival of INEC officials and ballot materials at the polling stations; malfunctioning BVAS machines – this caused delay in voter accreditation; few or non-transmission of the results from the polling units to the INEC results portal; insecurity at some polling units including violent attacks on voters and officials; voter intimidation, snatching and destruction of voting materials; significant cases of vote-buying, and limited access facilities for persons living with disabilities.
On voter intimidation, the report said: “The NBA Observers reported incidents of destruction of voting materials by party agents at various PUs, e.g., LDA Zuba Federal Housing Estate, Zuba – Abuja; voters were chased away to go to INEC Headquarters in Ciroma Yahe Kirt/UBA, Borno State; some voters were barred from voting at PU 014, Lagos Mainland Epetedo (Costain), Lagos. In Lagos, there were reports of many party agents threatening voters on the queue for accreditation that they must vote a particular candidate or leave the PU.”
On the issue of collation of results, the report stated that “After the tallying and counting of votes, most PUs polling agents found it difficult to upload the results to INEC portal using the BVAS machine, for various reasons ranging from lack of network to lack of proper skills or clear instructions from INEC.
“In many PUs, it was reported that the INEC server was not opening to enable officials transmit the results such as in PU 096 Gwarimpa, Abuja. In Takur Site Dispensary 002, Jigawar Tsada, Dutse, Jigawa State, INEC officials failed to display election result saying that it cannot instantly upload same via BVAS except it is done at the ward collation centre. As a result, by the time results are being collated at National level, most PU results were not yet uploaded, as had been expected by the INEC guidelines.”
Among other recommendations, NBA urged that “INEC should ensure that all bugs or glitches in the BVAs machines and other election technology are fixed and improved for the 11 March 2023 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, to reduce technical issues experienced in the 25 February elections.”
To read the full report, click below.