Press Release on Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly Elections
Issued: By the Women’s Situation Room-Nigeria | Date: Saturday, 11th April 2015
The Women’s Situation Room-Nigeria (WSR-Nigeria) is observing the elections for the Governorships and the State Houses of Assembly in nine states covering the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. The WSR-Nigeria perceived that with the announcement of the presidential elections and the stakes becoming higher, the potential for violence would grow higher hence the need for early warning and early response pre, during and after the April 11th elections. This led to the setting up of a second physical Situation Room in Port Harcourt, Rivers State one the states identified as a flashpoint for violence.
Reports coming from our observers and the general public indicate that generally, the commencement of accreditation started on time as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials arrived in good time and the massive failure of the card readers reported during the Presidential election was minimal in this election. The WSR-Nigeria however notes with concern electoral malpractices that were experienced in some polling units across the country; in Nasarawa State, we received reports of the electorates being chased away and mass thumb printing being done by unknown persons; in Anambra State in Ekwusigo LGA we received a report of the elections materials being seized at the RAC center; in Jigawa State there were incidents of the destruction of card readers by a political party, snatching of ballot boxes while in Edo there were reports of buying of votes on the queue by some political parties.
Reports of violence ranging from arson, violence against women, shootings, intimidation by heavily armed men have come in from Abia, Nasarawa, Rivers, Abia, Lagos, Anambra, Delta, Rivers, Imo, Gombe, Benue and Akwa Ibom States. There were reports of violence committed against the police from Rumola and Ogu-Bolu both in Rivers State.
We are concerned about the blatant electoral malpractices being perpetrated with impunity by political parties and its corresponding violence, putting the safety and security of women and Nigerians in general, in jeopardy.
We commend the INEC for being resolute in pursuing the implementation of the Electoral Process, as indicated by reports of improved performance of the card readers and commencement of accreditation and voting processes to mention a few. We further call on INEC to maintain its integrity of the electoral process and do the right thing without fear or favour.
We call on the security forces to close ranks and amplify their efforts to uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety and security of lives and property.
Lastly but certainly not least, we call on political parties to put Nigeria first.