Forum of observers adjudged Bauchi Guber/Assembly election free and fair

Samuel Luka, Bauchi

A forum of domestic and foreign election observers accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and a Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSO), have announced that the March 18 Governorship and state assembly elections in Bauchi state was free and fair.

Addressing a press conference at the Bauchi NUJ Secretariat Tuesday, Charity Erhire, who is the coordinator of the coalition, explained that the forum is a group of registered organisations accredited to observe the process of the 2023 general elections.

According to her, INEC has in its desire to conduct a credible election carefully selected group of election observers to observe the whole electoral process in Bauchi State.

She further explained that the forum’s observation mission provided opportunities for them to engage in constructive assessment, review and criticisms.

The forum of observers while commending the seamless movements of ad-hoc staff and materials for the election, also praise the INEC for adequately distributing the sensitive and non-sensitive election materials on time.

“The distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive material for the election was adequate and materials and electoral officials arrived in most of the polling units on time,” she said

On electoral Security Management System, Charity said the forum noted an effective and efficient provision of security operatives during the exercise.

“There was adequate security arrangement which culminated to smooth and peaceful conduct of the election,” she said.

The coordinator of the coalition who said election commences in most of the polling units on a record time, however acknowledged that there were a few cases of late arrival of materials to some LG Polling Units due to the proximity and difficult terrains.

The election observers disclosed that there was impressive turnout of voters in most of the polling units where electorate came out en-masse to cast their votes.

“They voted and elected candidates of their choice. Accreditation and voting was carried out simultaneously and on time”, Charity added.

“We also observed that the election was conducted in peaceful and conducive atmosphere and all the political parties that participated in the section had their party agents in most of the noting units especially APC, PDP Labour Party NNPP”, she said.

“We wish to state categorically that the final results as was subsequently announced was free, fair, credible, transparent and adhered strictly to all international best practices”, the observers said.

“We state without fear of contradiction that the collation and announcement of the result of the election as conducted by the National Independent Election Commission (NEC) was smooth”, she noted.

The forum commended Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi for providing a level playing ground for all the parties to exercise their rights to vote for the candidates of their choices.

The forum which advised the winners to be magnanimous in victory, appealed to co-contenders to accept defeat with dignity, insisting that the process was generally peaceful, transparent, free, fair and credible.

The forum also commended the management and staff of INEC, security personnel, political parties, other stakeholders for playing different roles towards ensuring the success of the exercise.

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