CODE Praises INEC Professionalism Despite all Odds in Off-Cycle Governorship Election in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States

Despite all odds,  the Democracy and Governance and Head of Uzabe elections situation room, CODE has commended the INEC for professionalism displayed by staff and the early deployment of Adhoc staff and materials which ensured the early commencement of voting in various wards in the off-cycle election in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi state

Emmanuel Njoku, Director of Democracy and Governance and Head of Uzabe elections situation room, CODE who addressed the media today in Lokoja, the Kogi State Capital noted that priority voting for the elderly has been observed in various locations like Mopa-Muro LGA in Kogi (Pandaya Market) and Ekeremor LGA (Ayama Ward) in Bayelsa amongst others

He commended the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), our diligent security operatives, and the people and government of these three states, for their unwavering commitment to a free, fair and credible electoral process.

"With our diligent election observers deployed across these states and an efficient team operating in our Situation Room, we are actively observing, verifying and promptly reporting via our Elections Intelligence Tool and are well on our X feed @Uzabe_NG

"It's heartening to report that the overall atmosphere in all three states has been peaceful and calm. However, we have identified some concerns that demand attention:

"In Ajaokuta LGA, at 2nd 200 Community Open space borehole PU 043, Kogi state, our observers were impeded from taking pictures by security personnel, infringing upon observers' freedom during the process.

"Bayelsa witnessed delayed voting in Kanabiri comp Ward of Sagbama LGA due to the absence of party agents, and late arrival of INEC officials at Yenogoa-Fankpo Square Ward.

-"An incident in Ekeremor LGA (Azidekeoreyeine Square Ward), involved an individual attempting to abscond with INEC materials, but citizens resolved the situation without injuries. This stands as a testament to the collective power of the masses.

"At Eke-mbutu Market Square Ward of Mbaitoli LGA, Imo state, the BVAS machine malfunctioned and displayed Chinese language, causing a delay that was much later rectified."he stressed

He added that there was low voter turnout has been reported in some parts of these states. like we observed at Owerri North at Okwu Uratta Primary School Ward.

"Disturbingly, in Bayelsa, Market Square Ogia Town Ward of Ogbia LGA, verified reports of vote buying have surfaced, with amounts going as high as N20,000. This was also observed at Ama-Ukwu Umuawaka Square Ward, of Njaba LGA, Imo state where votes were traded for as low as one thousand naira. This practice is disturbing and must be halted.

"As we anticipate further developments as voting is gradually coming to an end in many polling units across these states, sorting, counting, collation of results, we earnestly call upon all stakeholders to maintain their commitment to a peaceful electoral process. We implore the security personnel to be at alert, as history has shown that the tendency for violence gets higher during this phase of our elections, to ensure the continued security of the electoral proceedings," he noted

The group implore INEC officials to carry out their duties with efficiency. Most importantly, we call on INEC to ensure that polling unit results are electronically transmitted from the polling units to the INEC Result Viewing portal (IREV), to promote transparent result management and a timely collation process, as this is yet another opportunity for INEC to redeem their image and build trust in our electoral process.

"Additionally, we urge citizens to actively participate in upholding a peaceful atmosphere and exercising their democratic rights responsibly. Together, let us contribute to the success and integrity of the ongoing electoral process."he said 

"At Connected Development (CODE), we stand resolute in our commitment to supporting a transparent, accountable, and fair electoral process. Your unwavering dedication to responsible journalism harmonizes perfectly with these shared objectives

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