The EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) has called for investigations of what it described as “credible reports” of systematic poll frauds in Akwa Ibom and Rivers States in last Saturday’s gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections held across Nigeria.
In its preliminary report on the elections issued on Monday, the EU EOM which deploy observation missions for the polls across Nigeria said though it saw no evidence of centralised rigging, it however noticed some attempts to manipulate the polls.
The EOM which noted this in Abuja on Monday during a press conference addressed by Santiago Visas, its Chief Observer however noted that last Saturday’s poll was an improvement over the 28 March presidential and national assembly elections.
The Mission also noted that though the polling was more efficient, there were increased evidence of violence and interference in the process.
“Overall the 11 April election process appeared to be more efficient, with polling staff working diligently and improvements evident in the more timely opening of polling sites. However our findings also show space for systemic improvements. Procedural shortcomings continued to be prevalent.
“Card reader fingerprint verification was sometimes problematic, party agents were at times seen interfering in polling officials’ work, and essential ballot checks were not consistently performed during counting and collation,” said the Chief Observer.
“EU EOM observers saw no evidence of centralised systematic fraud although some attempts at manipulation were observed” reads the statement.
“Credible reports show that problems were very severe in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. These warrant further investigation.”
He also encouraged those with grievances to address them through official channels. The Chief Observer called on candidates, parties and citizens to respond peacefully to the results,” the Mission concluded.
The preliminary statement will be followed by a final report, with recommendations for consideration by the Nigerian authorities, to be presented to the public at a later stage.