Election Observer Groups Hail INEC Over Conduct Of Bayelsa Gov’ship Poll

A group of election observers that monitored last Saturday’s governorship election in Bayelsa State, has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the professional conduct of the exercise.

The groups in a statement signed by their leaders applauded the commitment of the electoral umpire in upholding the principles of democracy.

The groups said the election was an improvement in INEC’s performance to ensure that elections in Nigeria meet international standards requirement.

They noted that increased efficiency at every stage of the electoral process on the part of INEC exceeded the expectations of many Nigerians at the poll.

The groups include the Sustainable Initiative for Nurturing Growth (SING); Women and Youth Empowerment for Global Change Initiative; New Nation Foundation for Global Development; Total Care for Peace and Development Initiative; Citizens Right for Peace and Good Leadership Initiative; Initiative for the Rapid Development of Nigeria; Initiative for Youth Transformation for Positive Change; Women Right and Peace Protection for Initiative for African; Peace Advocate and Voice for the Common Man, and First Massive Literati Foundation.

According to them, “we, the undersigned election observer groups, having diligently monitored the conduct of the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State, hereby release this statement to commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for her commendable efforts in ensuring a transparent and credible electoral process.

“The election was marked by a high level of professionalism, dedication, and adherence to electoral guidelines by INEC officials, and we applaud her commitment to upholding the principles of democracy. The smooth conduct of the election is a testament to the strides made in improving the electoral process in Nigeria.

“We would also like to extend our congratulations to Governor Duoye Diri on his victory in the governorship election. We believe that his success is a reflection of the will of the people of Bayelsa State, as expressed through their votes.

“However, it is with deep concern that we note certain incidents of violence, particularly in Brass Local Government, during the election. We condemn these acts unequivocally, as they undermine the democratic process and endanger the lives of citizens. In light of this, we call for a thorough investigation and prosecution of all individuals involved in electoral violence, irrespective of their political affiliations.

“Furthermore, we express our dismay at the alleged involvement of the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Joshua Maciver, in instigating violence in Brass Local Government. If these allegations are substantiated, we call for the immediate prosecution of Mr. Maciver in accordance with the law. Such actions should not go unpunished, as they set a dangerous precedent and erode public trust in the electoral process.

“As we commend the success of the election, we also urge relevant authorities to take swift and decisive action to address any shortcomings and to ensure that the electoral process in Bayelsa State continues to improve in subsequent elections.

“We remain committed to promoting and fostering democracy in Nigeria, and we will continue to monitor and engage with the electoral process to contribute to the consolidation of democratic values in the country,” they stated.