The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room on Saturday expressed worry over voter turnout and violence observed in the ongoing Governorship and State Assembly elections.
The Coalition of CSOs said this in the Interim Statement on the commencement of the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly polls, signed by the Convener, Ene Obi and Co-Conveners Asma’u Joda and James Ugochukwu.
Ms Obi said that the Situation Room was expectant that voter turnout would improve as the election progressed.
She said that the group deployed 2,340 election observers, with at least three election observers per Local Government Area in every state of the federation, except for the Federal Capital Territory.
“At the time of this report, the Situation Room observed tension in about five per cent of polling units.
“Sources of these tensions include destruction of election materials, disruption of materials distribution, arguments and quarrels between party agents and fighting among party supporters.
“Specifically, in Polling Unit 009, Nto Edio 3 Ward in Obot Akara LGA of Akwa Ibom State, ballot boxes were destroyed by aggrieved political party members.
“Also, in Aluchi Ward, Nasarawa Eggon LGA of Nasarawa State, thugs destroyed materials at the distribution centre, thereby disrupting the distribution of materials.”
Obi said that the Situation Room was particularly concerned by reports that in some communities in Lagos State, there were traditional festivals coinciding with the Election Day.
She said that this could discourage voter turnout and increase tensions.
She said that Situation Room also observed early deployment of election officials and materials across the country with many states deploying election officials and materials to the RACs on time.
“Our network of observers reported that election officials arrived at about 8:30 a.m. in 80 per cent of polling units visited while accreditation of voters began at 8:30 a.m. in about 67 per cent of polling units observed,” she said.
Obi, however, said that Situation Room did not observe deployment of assistive materials for People with Disability, PWDs.
She said that the Situation Room observed vote buying in eight per cent of polling units visited with voter inducement through sharing of money and food items.