By The Evangelist News edition, March 22, 2023.
International election observers under the aegis of Pan African Women Projects, have stated that the March 18, 2023 governorship and state house of assembly elections held in Akwa Ibom state have met the international commendations of free, transparent, and peaceful conduct of the electoral process.
They made this statement at a press conference held on the 21st of March, 2023 in Uyo with the theme, “Strengthening Democracy”.
The Pan African Women Projects which is an international non-governmental organisation comprised of women from all 54 countries in Africa has observed several elections in over 15 African countries including Nigeria.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Uyo on Tuesday, the non-governmental organisation said it deployed over 150 trained elections observers to the 31 local government areas, and made their observations and submissions in the areas of logistics, INEC ad-hoc staff, turnout of voters, security, vote-buying/lobbying, technology (BIVAS), etc.
The organisation’s spokesperson, Ms. Candice Solomon at the press conference commended the Independent Electoral Commission, citizens of Akwa Ibom, and security personnel for organising a free, transparent and peaceful election which prompted them to adjudge it as having met international standards.
“We use this medium to appreciate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the opportunity to serve in this election as one of the accredited FOREIGN OBSERVER GROUPS.
“We want to sincerely and greatly appreciate Professor Mahmud Yakubu and the entire department of gender and inclusivity of the commission, especially for the unwavering supports that made our work very easy.
“We also appreciate the various security agencies that worked tirelessly to ensure our safety by providing all the intelligence and protection needed to carry out our onerous duties.
“The 18th March 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections in Akwa Ibom State meets International commendations of a free, transparent and peaceful conduct of electoral process.”
The observers however called on security agents to “address all security lapses in the 2023 election and employ more personnel into the system to improve on a more effective security network during elections in Nigeria.”
They also noted general low turnout of voters in the exercise and submitted that “INEC’s performance at the Presidential elections especially as results were seen not to be transmitted to the IREV across the State had altered people’s trust in the electoral system.
Pastor Umo Eno of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP won the Governorship elections ahead of Senator Bassey Albert and Mr Akan Udofia of the YPP and APC respectively.