Nigerians from all walks of life heaved a sigh of relief that against predictions of some dooms-day prophets, the off-season Gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States of Saturday, 11th November 2023, was not only a huge success, but further raise the bar for the conduct of general polls in the country.
This is the first elections, after the last general elections in February and March, that were subjects of heated contentions until the Supreme Court of Justice made a final pronouncement on it. Our Coalition note with commendation that the election umpire body, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC performed creditably well in the discharge of its duties, functions, and responsibilities.
Similarly, the combined, collaborative efforts of various security agencies ensure there was a convivial atmosphere for the conduct of a seamless, free, and fair elections without any apprehension on the security of lives and properties.
The observations of our members who participated in monitoring of the elections, tallies with the submissions of a credible, continental civic watchdog, YIAGA – Africa. The veritable, civil society body deployed a global, elections monitoring tool to monitor the off-cycle elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa and it is worth observing that its independent, verifiable assessment, findings, and projections are in sync with the verdicts of the electoral body, INEC in the three States.
YIAGA – Africa, made use of global standard, “Process and Results Verification for Transparency (PRVT) mechanisms to appraise the preparations, organisations, conducts and performance of all relevant social stakeholders in the elections.
As critical stakeholders and social partners in building an enviable, electoral, democratic, and constitutional heritage for our great country, we recognize the importance of smooth transition reins of governance through regular mandate negotiation as the organic cord for any society to take requisite industrial, technological, and developmental leap.
We, therefore, see the last elections as a manifest signal of rainbow behind the cloud for our dear nation. We are definite that Nigeria, its people as well as our nascent democratic institutions are beginning to shed our milk teeth, overcome toddling steps in the voyage to orbit global comity of democratic climes.
It is apposite for us to copiously quote the YIAGA -Africa PRVT report where it submits that the outcome of its election monitoring exercise tallies with the results announced by INEC. For instance, in relations to Kogi elections, it stated that “INEC official result for the 2023 Kogi State government elections are consistent with YIAGA – Africa’s WTV estimates (especially it falls within YIAG- Africa WTV estimated range). Had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA, or State collation centers, the official results would not have fallen within the YIAGA – Africa WTV estimated ranges”.
In this regard, the results as announced, to take a graphic sample showed that ADC has 2.7% as against YIAGA projection of 3.0%; APC – 57.04 (INEC). 53.0% (YIAGA-AFRICA); PDP -5.93 (INEC), 6.1% (YIAGA-AFRICA); SDP – 33.11%, (INEC), 36.7% (YIAGA- AFRICA).
Obviously, the voice of the people is reflected in the votes of the people, and, inevitably in the choice of the people in the off-season elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States. We join all well-meaning Nigerian patriots to congratulate Governors Hope Uzodinma and Duoye Diri for returning as Governors in Imo and Bayelsa States and felicitates, Usman Ododo as the Governor-Elect of Kogi State.
The Voice/Votes of the People is the supreme law. It is time to set aside all partisan contentions and face squarely the tasks service to the respective States, communities and peoples.
Coalition Of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)