by Deji Abiodun & Agency Report
The ECOWAS Observer Mission, EOM, has declared that Saturday’s Presidential election is acceptable and meets the criteria of being free and transparent.
The declaration was made by the mission’s head and former President of Ghana, John Kuffour, in Abuja on Sunday.
Mr. Kuffour expressed satisfaction with the commitment made by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, political parties, security agencies and various entities on the electoral process.
He observed that the turnout of voters was generally high with a laudable participation of women and young people who displayed commendable level of patience and discipline.
“Security agents were present at most of the polling stations and on patrols in and around the cities as peaceful atmosphere prevailed in most parts of the country,’’ he said.
The mission also noted that INEC officials demonstrated good knowledge and compliance with voting procedures.
He also noted that agents of the major political parties, including All Progressives Congress, Labour Party and the People Democratic Party, were in attendance in most polling units.
“The process of counting at the polling stations and the subsequent collations at designated centres were successful and in accordance with the Electoral Act.
“Some of the challenges the mission observed during the exercise included the late arrival of INEC officials in many polling stations and malfunctioning of Card Readers across the country,’’ he said.
Mr. Kuffour further said the elections were still ongoing in some affected polling units were elections had been extended by one day.
He said the mission also observed that there was insufficient and/or non-availability of electoral materials in some polling units which led to delay in accreditation and voting processes.
“Cases of attempt to snatch ballot papers were reported in some polling stations leading to instances of uproar, shootings and sporadic violence in the affected polling stations.
“Despite efforts by the relevant agencies to secure the electoral exercise, explosions were also recorded in some parts of the country,’’ he said.
The EOM is part of the ECOWAS sustained efforts to support the consolidation of democracy and good governance in Nigeria.
The mission is also in line with ECOWAS guidelines on election-monitoring.