The Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform, CODER, an accredited Election Observer Group for the 2019 Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship and State Assembly elections has said the Postponement of the general election which was scheduled to take place Feb. 16 but shifted to a Feb.23 and March 6, is a clear indication that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was unprepared to conduct a free and fair poll.
CODER said the likelihood of a free and fair election is farfetched unless INEC as a matter of urgency address its inadequate welfare arrangements for its ad hoc staffs, as the situation of poor welfare conditions may create room for compromise among electoral personnel.
Speaking at a press briefing that took place at the NECA House, Alausa, Ikeja, the Executive Director, CODER, Dr. Wunmi Bewaji, made known the observations of the group and also proffering solutions to some of the issues raised.
Bewaji said the group has trained and deployed 380 field observers and based on their observation, they are calling on INEC to address some of the issues raised.
On the distribution of election materials, CODER noted that while election materials started arriving many states as early as Friday 15, 2019, there were noticeable changes in INEC’s overall logistics. Many voting materials were incomplete. Also there were challenges trailing the submission of lists of party agent by various political parties.
On voters turn out, CODER said despite the postponement, voters turned out in their number across the 36 states of the federation including the FCT. This they say indicates the preparedness of Nigerians to perform their civic duty. Hence, they must not be disenfranchised. They called on INEC to find a way to restore the confidence reposed in them by the electorate so that there will not be voter apathy.
In spite of the justifiable disappointment and disapproval expressed by most Nigerians in response to the election postponement, CODER believes that Nigerian voters are still committed to come out in force on the new dates.
CODER was founded in 2009 by a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to supporting the electoral reform process in Nigeria.