Home Election Suppression of Voters, Violence Marred Gubernatorial, Houses of Assembly Polls – TMG

Suppression of Voters, Violence Marred Gubernatorial, Houses of Assembly Polls – TMG

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Isiyaku Ahmed

The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has released its report on the monitoring of the 18 March 2023 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.

A copy of the report obtained by Stallion Times, signed by the Chairman of TMG, Comrade Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) said the election was marred with suppression of voters, vote trading, generalized violence, and vote padding.

According to the monitoring report, TMG deployed 768 roving observers across 768 Local Government Areas in the country to observe the 18 March gubernatorial and houses of assembly elections.

It also set up a central data center to collect and analyze data observed from the field. The group conducted its activities in compliance with the guidelines provided by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in collaboration with other domestic and international observers.

TMG also commends all stakeholders of the election, especially INEC, urging it to work on lessons learned and make improvements in future elections.

Below is the complete text of the report;

TMG notes improvements by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) around the logistics delivery and functionality of the BVAS. However, the same cannot be said for Election Day security as it happened to be one of the most violence-ridden elections in its recent history.

In the build-up to the elections, there were reports of voter suppression and intimidation with threats of consequences issued by well-known loyalists of some highly-ranked politicians in the country.  The failure of the security operatives to apprehend and prosecute the issuant of such threats further emboldened them to unleash mayhem on citizens on Election Day.

The gubernatorial elections were further challenged by incidents of voter apathy in many states across the country following diminished confidence in the electoral umpire as a result of the outcome of the presidential election. This becomes a major drawback to the nation’s electoral process considering the increasing spate of voter education in the country.

Furthermore, TMG observed a sharp departure from the presidential election where identity mobilization of voters along religious and ethnic lines was visibly noted. However, voting patterns in the gubernatorial polls as observed in Kaduna, Cross River, Taraba, Delta, Adamawa and a host of other states were free from ethnoreligious identity considerations. This goes to show that electoral campaigns and voter mobilization in Nigeria can be devoid of these elements.

More specifically, TMG’s observation of the elections across the country spotlighted the issues of deployment of logistics, the functionality of the BVAS and IReV system, electoral security, and vote buying.


Across the country, TMG observers reported improved logistic deployment by INEC when compared with the presidential election. This was evident in the early commencement of accreditation and voting proceedings across the country. TMG observers also reported early and complete setup of voting procedures from across the country.


Reports from TMG observers show that the BVAS functioned well in most of the polling units across the states. Accreditation processes went smoothly with the device concluding the validation of a voter within a ten-second timeframe. However, pockets of incidence of BVAs malfunction were recorded, in such rare cases however TMG observers also reported that the officers promptly rectified the problems.

This is a significant area of improvement from the presidential election where BVAS malfunction was prevalent. Similarly, the Central Data Centre closely monitored the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal for real-time upload of results from the polling unit. The center also noted an improvement as polling unit results were uploaded in real-time in some polling units.

However, as reported from the field, some polling officials categorically told voters that they could not upload results from the polling units citing directives from INEC and log-in access as some of their reasons


The major drawback of the state election remains the widespread violence that permeated through the states of the country. Cases of disruption of polling processes by political thugs were reported as they were seen snatching ballot boxes and destroying electoral materials across the country, and in extreme cases resulting in deaths.

Political thugs also perpetrated voter suppression and intimidation, in most cases in the presence of security agencies. Journalists and observers were also victims of intimidation and attacks; for instance, a TMG observer was physically attacked in Kano.


Across the country, TMG observers reported abysmal levels of low voter turnout in the state elections as election officials waited boringly for voters in several polling units. The reason for this is not farfetched, a resultant effect of INEC’s underperformance during the presidential election.

In other cases, it was reported that the low turnout could also be attributed to the intimidation of voters by political thugs in the build-up, thereby prompting many people to stay away from polling centers.


Vote trading reared its ugly head again in the state elections and took even more severe dimensions than recorded in the presidential election. In states like Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Ogun, Ebonyi, and Bauchi, open display of vote buying pervaded the conduct of the election. In some instances where officials of the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) moved to arrest culprits, the officers were attacked.


Several arrests were made across the country for electoral violations, ranging from disruption to voting to buying. The actions of the security agents in these circumstances are noted and commended. In some cases, the security agents moved swiftly to restore order for polling to continue.

Interestingly, citizens’ resilience to fight disruption and manipulation of the elections was widely reported in Lagos, Kano, Abia, and Enugu. In Kano, citizens moved en-masse to escort polling unit results to the collation centers. These acts of peaceful resilience on the part of citizens are also commended as it shows the yearning of Nigerians for a truly democratic process.


1. The failure of the police to respond to voter intimidation in the build-up to the state elections emboldened political thuggery and election violence that permeated the governorship election in Nigeria. The police have the authority to stamp out these individuals no matter who they are connected to. The police must move to arrest those individuals and bring them to justice to serve as a deterrent in future elections.

2. All arrested electoral offenders must be prosecuted in public knowledge while investigations continue to arrest those not in the police net yet. Furthermore, the sponsors of those thugs who unleashed mayhem on innocent Nigerians who only sort to express their constitutional guaranteed rights must be fished out and prosecuted in public knowledge.

3. INEC must review all evidence of electoral malpractices presented before it

4. EFCC And ICPC should continue with their good work to reduce the commercialization of vote buying and arrest the enablers, middlemen, and receivers during the upcoming elections.

In conclusion, TMG commends INEC on lessons learned from the presidential poll which has been brought to improve the state elections. As seen from the efficient logistic deployment and functionality of the technological introductions, Nigeria’s electoral system has the potential to bring about credible elections, it is to the extent that the commission is allowed to independently manage the elections that hinders credible elections in the country. INEC must strive to eliminate human interference, especially with result management.

As seen from the March 18th election, the credibility, freeness, and fairness of elections in Nigeria are beyond the management of the commission alone. Security agencies must play their roles optimally to ensure electoral violence does not remain a tool for election manipulation in the hands of politicians.

Huge lessons have been learned from the 2023 general election, the commission must begin to rally stakeholders toward improving the system ahead of the off-cycle elections in Kogi, Edo, and Imo states. TMG also commends the commitment of domestic and international observers as well as the media for its professionalism without interfering with election procedures.

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