Uhuru raises concerns over violence during Nigerian election
Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta, who headed the African Union Election Observers Mission (AUEOM), has expressed concerns over the conduct of the recently held presidential election in Nigeria.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, February 27, Uhuru revealed that the election was largely conducted under the cloud of violence in several states, which he said presented a challenge to the electoral process.
“The election took place amidst general insecurity in the Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southsouth geo-political zones,” Uhuru stated in the preliminary report released by AUEOM.
He added, “The mission noted that the insecurity issue presented a challenge to the conduct of the elections as noted on the attack on the Inec offices, personnel, and materials before the election.”
Uhuru urged Nigerian citizens to exercise patience and maintain peace as the country awaits the declaration of the presidential results. AUEOM also asked dissatisfied candidates and citizens to consider going to court instead of resorting to street fights like what was witnessed during and after the election.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission, led by former President of Sierra Leone Bai Koroma, also expressed concerns over the violence being witnessed in Nigeria, warning that it could easily spiral into mayhem. Both missions emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and stability during the electoral process.
Multiple reports show that opposition parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party, have raised concerns over the lack of transparency in the new electronic voting system. Inec chairman Mahmood Yakubu, however, dismissed the accusations and announced that the electoral process would continue unabated.
As of Tuesday, February 28, 2023, Inec chairman Mahmood Yakubu announced that only a third of the 36 states officially declared their results. All Progressives Congress (APC)’s candidate Bola Tinubu commanded an early lead of around 40 percent of the votes cast, with Atiku Abubakar of the PDP coming second with 38 percent of the votes that had been counted. While Peter Obi of the Labour Party mounted a strong challenge to the two-party system, the APC and the PDP had dominated Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999. Obi was seen to have had the support of many young people, who make up a third of registered voters.
The AUEOM and ECOWAS missions have urged all presidential candidates to talk to their supporters and urge them to calm down even as the country continues with the electoral process.
As the results continue to trickle in, the world watches with bated breath to see who emerges as the winner of the Nigerian presidential election.