Our attention has been drawn to a publication recently circulated by some Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) condemning the report of the recently concluded Gubernatorial and State Assembly Elections as observed by seasoned and duly accredited independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Domestic Observer Groups in Kano State that took place on Saturday 18th March 2023.
As a coalition of duly accredited INEC Domestic Observer Groups, it has been a tradition that at the end of every election exercise we compile, and compare, reports obtained from various field officers deployed to all 44 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kano State.
To this end, every data collated by our field officers have been proven to be accurate, reliable, and verifiable without any act of misinformation or mischief intended to hurt, please, or malign any particular interest.
ln this context, we wish to affirm categorically that the group never at any time called for the cancellation of the Kano polls. Rather in fairness, we advised that INEC should review results obtained in affected areas where the issue of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and overvoting occurs.
We operate solely on rules of engagement and the code of ethics of the observer’s guidelines as required by the law.
We also agree that in every election all grievances must be channeled to the court of law.
We have not said anything different from what was reported in other states; i.e Abia, Adamawa, Enugu, Ogun State, etc.
We uphold the Electoral Commission in much higher esteem as the umpire mandated by law to conduct elections and announce results.
However, as observer groups, our duty is to identify, observe, report, and refer all communications to INEC.
The TMG and its allies in their submissions alluded to the fact that we have earlier reported when they mentioned that ” noting that the lost elections were marred by violence and other forms of electoral malfeasance, the CSOs affirm that they stood by their earlier recommendations on the part of INEC and other stakeholders to improve the elections in Nigeria”.
We are apolitical, neutral, and had no affiliation with any political party.
As a Coalition of Election Observer Groups, we are neither faceless nor partisan as has been reported to malign the image of the coalition before the good people of Kano and the nation at large.
We want to reiterate here that we are experienced observer groups with over 30 years of field experience in election observations in Nigeria and other African Countries.
OUR STAND REMAINS THUS:
1. INEC should examine the BVAS machine deployed to verify the figures on the results sheets Form EC8As for all affected local government areas.
2. There were reported cases of irregularities of some state actors and non-state actors that tried to undermine the process of election in Gwarzo, Tudunwada, Bagwai, Dala, Fagge, and LGAs to mention a few.
3. We refer also to the margin of lead which is put at 128,897 votes less than the total number of canceled votes of 273,442. Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended is very clear on cases like these.
ln conclusion, we the Coalition of INEC Domestic Observer Groups, therefore, state that the Kano State Governorship and State Assembly Elections conducted on Saturday 18th March 2023 were marred by irregularities, violation of the Electoral Act, and INEC guidelines and not meet the best standard democratic practice.
Dr. Ibrahim Abacha, Chairman of the Coalition
Dr. Ibrahim Baba. Mni, Secretary of the Coalition