27 killed during gov poll – Report
No fewer than 27 persons were killed during the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly elections across the country, a report by a leading intelligence organization, SB Intelligence stated on Monday.
The deaths were recorded in 10 states out of the 28 where governorship elections were conducted, according to the report.
The report said at least six persons were killed on election day in Rivers and Benue states; while five died in Delta, three in Lagos, two in Akwa-Ibom, and one each in Cross River, Ebonyi, Niger, Kebbi and Katsina states.
The organisation said the casualty figure might be more as it was still working to confirm more incidents.
The report read partly, “The March 18 governorship and Houses of Assembly elections, held three weeks after the presidential and National Assembly elections, were characterised by poor turnout but many had hoped that the 2023 elections would be better, given the initial widespread enthusiasm.
“Our research shows that logistical issues and violence resurfaced and Nigeria’s elections risk normalising ethnic-based voter suppression.
“Thugs hijacked and burnt election materials in Ogbia, Bayelsa, making the Independent National Electoral Commission officials flee to Yenagoa for safety. ‘Iceland’ members were accused of threatening non-PDP voters in Rivers, while some thugs forcefully demanded access to election materials in Akwa Ibom.
“The most striking examples of violence are from Lagos and other states where a long-standing ruling party wants to stay in power forcefully.”
The report also said the flaws in the just-concluded elections ‘’leaves Nigeria in danger of illegitimate leadership, which will erode trust in the electoral process.’’
A security expert, Jackson Ojo, said INEC and security agencies must be overhauled to prevent a repeat ugly incidents in the future.
He said, “Nigerians placed so much hope in this election but ended up being disappointed. The widespread violence is totally unacceptable. This election is not worthy of being called one. The electoral body and security agencies failed Nigerians.
“They would not say there were no signals, they even failed to act in situations where supporters of these candidates were making inciting comments. What we need is a total overhaul of INEC and security agencies.”