March 3, 2024

2023 Election: MESH commends peaceful conduct, unveils observations

Education, Social and Health Mission (MESH) has commended Nigerians for the peaceful conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections.

MESH, an NGO under the umbrella of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), actively participated in the process of observing the presidential and National Assembly Elections held on the 25th February, 2023.

The elections were observed with the support of a Coalition of Muslim Organizations across the Country.

MESH commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the use of the Continuous and Accreditation Voters System (CVAS) procedure where voters were accredited and voted at the same time using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

The NGO, therefore joined all relevant stakeholders to congratulate Nigerians for their determination, patience and resilience displayed during and after the elections.

“Despite the long queues at some polling units, Nigerian voters demonstrated commitment to participate in the process and a strong desire to ensure their votes count,” MESH said in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Oladipupo Khadijah, on Thursday March 2, 2023.

According to MESH, the elections leaves lessons to be learnt in strengthening Nigeria’s democratic processes as a country.

Its observers across the country gave positive report about substantial adherence to the electoral process and procedure as stipulated by the electoral legal framework.

“Of particular importance was the BVAS technology deployed for accreditation and voting which has worked maximally across the country with very little hitches recorded.

“Though the BVAS machine was designed to check manipulations, the technology needs to be improved to transmit election results in real time to avoid rigging in order to protect the sanctity of the election results.

“High percentage of female electoral officials and large turnout of female voters was observed,” it said.

It also commended the security personnel for displaying high degree of professionalism during the election across the country.

It, however, observed that logistical challenges and isolated incidents of political violence, late arrival of electoral officers, overcrowded polling units, over voting, late hour collation of results overshadowed the largely successful electoral process and impeded a substantial number of voters from participating.

MESH maintained that “The inability of election officials to upload and transmit election results in real time via the BVAS machine gave room for apprehension in some quarters.”

It, therefore, urged INEC to conduct a thorough post-elections review, to draw lessons and consider improving on their logistics operations, make provision for electricity at polling units for recharging BVAS machines and light up the polling units in case the voting process runs late, and to implement the recommendations of observers groups.

MESH also called on politicians to play by the rules guiding the electoral process.

It emphasized that politicians should refrain from the use of provocative language, dissemination of misinformation, which could create political tension, divisiveness, violence and undermine the democratic progress in Nigeria.

MESH urged all stakeholders especially faith-based organizations to intensify voters’ education to reawaken and re-orientate Nigerians on the need to participate fully in the electoral process and shun violence at all costs.

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