A civil society organisation, Connected Development, CODE, has expressed concern over the ethnic profiling of some groups in the 2023 General Elections and urged Nigerians to embrace unity in the nation’s interest.
The Chief Executive Officer of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a news conference to present the organisation’s findings on the 2023 General elections.
Mr Lawal said that CODE and its 20,000 observers were at the forefront of the poll and have followed the process religiously with the deployment of CODE’s Uzabe platform.
“We speak against the ethnic profiling that took place in most parts of the country and how we must shun these things as a country.
“We must see ourselves as humans; yes, each and every one of us is from a village or a community but Nigeria as a whole has united us.
“We cannot target people because of their choice, their language or because of the region that they come from.
“If we continue this way, it will consume each and every one of us, so we hope that our political, traditional and religious leaders can douse the tension and call people to order,” he said.
Mr Lawal said there was need for Nigerians to be united and remain peaceful.
He said that CODE’s observations revealed that in spite of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s, acclaimed readiness to host the presidential election on Feb.25 it fell shot of expectations in terms of logistics.
He, however, commended the commission for correcting the shortfall during the governorship election as polls started very early in more than 70 per cent polling units monitored across the country.
He said that there were some critical incidences that that undermined the success of the governorship and State Assembly elections.
Mr Lawal listed electoral violence, ballot box snatching, attacks on observers and journalists, low voter turnout, ethnic profiling among others.
He also expressed disappointment at the way some security agencies reacted to the issue of electoral violence, adding that some of them seemed to have been compromised.
He said that although the 2022 Electoral Act was a good amendment, it failed to deliver on the electoral system due to human interference.
He said that the 10th National Assembly would have a critical role to play in the amendment of the Electoral Act, particularly on how to unbundle INEC as an institution.
“This is because in our democracy and our politics, election is the first step and if we get it wrong, then our democracy will be in shambles and Nigerian people will not enjoy the dividends.
“In unbundling INEC as an institution, first, we will need to look at how the National Chairman of INEC, the National Commissioners emerge and most importantly, how to Resident Electoral Commissioners emerge and who are they answerable to.
“This is because today, what we have seen is that the institution as a whole and the people there have been compromised, some are placeholders for corrupt politicians.’’
Mr Lawal said that there was need to unbundle INEC and make it truly independent without outside interference with its duties.
He also stressed the need for the commission to step up its result collation process.
“I think that as we reform the institution and provide reform on the Electoral Act for every result that would be uploaded should have the signature of every party agent,’’ he said.