From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
An international group, Pan African Women Projects (PAWP), a non-governmental organisation of women from 54 countries, has recommended the use of Independent National Electorial Commission (INEC) Returning Officer for Abia governorship election, Prof Nnenna Oti for future elections in the country.
A release in Umuahia by Ms Bontela Matjila, Spokesperson of PAWP, the group said her recommendation hinged from the findings they made from the Governorship and House of Assembly elections they monitored in Abia State and discovered that Peof Oti lived above board in the discharge of her duties.
Describing Prof Oti as a woman of integrity, the group equally said her recommendation was based on the wonderful roles she played in her duty post as Abia REC during the governorship election,
PAWP, which has its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa and served as one of the foreign observer missions accredited by INEC, however, expressed disappointment with issues of “serious vote buying and influencing of voters’ choice during the governorship election by party members at some polling units.
PAWP said it equally observed pockets of violence and intimidation of voters in the three Senatorial zones of Abia, noting that the violence was perpetrated across party lines.
It therefore urged INEC to use drone in future elections for distribution of electoral materials and to engage the services of trained ad-hoc staff as electoral officers to avoid what happened in the just concluded polls.
The group called for the use of disciplined religious bodies, NGOs and priests of integrity who would not compromise their positions, during future elections.
This is even as it suggested the use of electronic voting where accreditation and voting are processed from same device.
“Out of total 93.47 million registered voters, only 24.9 million persons, representing 26.72 percent voted in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.”
The group said foreign observers had much interest in Nigeria’s electoral process because the country occupies a leading role in Africa.
“The 2023 general elections will have regional implications for West Africa as successful elections within Nigeria can provide a positive electoral template in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region”, PAWP stated.