Coalition of South East CSOs calls for outright cancellation of 2023 presidential election

Leader of SENDA, Comrade Emmanuel Acha (M) with other exco addressing the press

A coalition of Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in the South East under the aegis of South East Network for Democracy and Accountability, SENDA, has frowned at the shoddy conduct of the last presidential election held on Saturday, February 25, 2023 and therefore called for outright cancellation of the outcome for new polls to take place.

The coalition which made the call at a World Press Conference held at the Roots Restaurant, Independence Layout, Enugu Sunday evening, maintained that the election fell short of international standards and also fell short of the new amended electoral law of 2022, and as such, passed a vote of no confidence on INEC.

They pointed out that though huge sums of money was spent in conducting the election, it would be better that a better polls be conducted to meet the people’s desire and aspiration.

Addressing newsmen on behalf of SENDA, leader of the Coalition, Comrade Emmanuel Acha said that the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections which took place on February 25, 2023, a day that commemorate exactly one year after the signing of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended by President Muhammadu Buhari has left many with questions begging for answers. “This is why we are here today to grant this press conference,” he said.

Acha said that why they are calling for outright cancellation and rescheduling of the Presidential Election is because INEC was unable  to fulfil their promises to Nigerians and failed to adhere to the dictates of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended. 

“The Commission has been specifically blamed by stakeholders on issues of logistics; late arrival of poll officials at their voting centres across the country, particularly in the Southern part of Nigeria; failure to transmit polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (iRev); and voter intimidation and suppression among others. 

“We hereby agree with various national and international stakeholders that the just concluded elections lacked transparency and failed to achieve minimum standards of electoral credibility,” he said.

He  said that Nigerian democracy can no longer be described as nascent, hence no excuse can be justifiably adduced for the very obvious lapses witnessed so far in our elections since 1999 till date. 

He expressed displeasure that  in  spite the series of assurances and reassurances by INEC  as it relates to the deployment and use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) as well as the INEC Result Viewing Portal in the general elections, INEC could not conduct a credible poll.

The group, therefore while calling for the cancellation and rescheduling of the Presidential poll, however urged Nigerians not to be deterred by what happened during the presidential and national assembly elections to come out en masse to exercise their franchise for the forthcoming governorship and house of assembly elections.

They equally called on INEC to improve on their performance while urging the security agencies to be up and doing to ensure adequate security for the remaining polls, pointing out that, “The IReV is one of the innovations introduced by the Commission to ensure the integrity and credibility of election results in Nigeria. It is therefore inconceivable that the Commission will turn-around and undermine its own innovations,” they lamented.

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