President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

Assent to amended Electoral Act, international election monitors beg Buhari

NEWS DIGEST–An International Election Observer group, a Pan-African Women projects that monitored the 2019 general elections in the country, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the amended Electoral Act.

The Publicity Secretary of PAN Project 2019, Ms Mphoentle Keitseng, who monitored Governorship and House of Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom, made the appeal during an interactive session with newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday.

According to her, the Electoral Bill will help to facilitate and regulate a proper conduct of subsequent elections in the country.

She noted with dismay that the just concluded governorship and House of Assembly elections were marred with irregularities such as vote-buying, ballot box-snatching, intimidation, thuggery and disruption of voting process.

Keitseng harped on the need to review the Electoral Act in order to help strengthen the electoral process.

She called on the Federal Government to create election petitions tribunal in order to prosecute offenders of the electoral processes.

Keitseng decried heavy presence of military personnel in polling units, which she noted scared voters.

“We commend the transparency and credibility exhibited by INEC in Akwa Ibom in conducting free, fair presidential/National Assembly and gubernatorial/state House of Assembly elections,” she said.

Keitseng also advised INEC to recruit ad hoc staff that are above 30 years of age for sensitive positions such as polling officers, because, she said, “many polling officials who were young lacked the maturity to take decisions on time, especially where violence erupted.”