By Bukar Bolori
The British High Commission has said there was commendable improvements in last Saturday’s EkitI governorship election, expressing the willingness of government of United Kingdom to continue to collaborate with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders in the conduct of peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in the country.
It however expressed worry over reported vote buying during the election and call on the relevant authorities to hold any persons involved accountable, insisting that the buying and selling of votes has no place in a democracy.
A signed statement on Monday by the Press and Public Affairs Officer of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, British Deputy High Commission in Lagos, Ndidiamaka Eze read: “We congratulate the people of Ekiti State for their peaceful and democratic participation in the governorship election that was held on Saturday 18 June 2022. As the first major election conducted since the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022, we commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, our civil society partners and all stakeholders for their collective effort in the successful conduct of the poll under the new legal framework.
“Our team of observers on the ground noted commendable improvements in the electoral process including the timely opening of polls, better functioning of the Biometric Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) devices for accrediting voters, and the transparent and efficient electronic transmission of polling unit results to INEC’s results viewing portal.”
Eze, in the statement, however said: “We are concerned about reports of vote buying during the election and call on the relevant authorities to hold any persons involved accountable. The buying and selling of votes has no place in a democracy.”
She said: “We encourage INEC to reflect on other potential improvements to the electoral process ahead of general elections in 2023, especially the re-distribution and assignment of voters to newly established polling units to reduce queuing times, better awareness and implementation of electoral guidelines by INEC staff and improved accessibility at polling units to help with the participation of persons with disabilities.
“We urge any party or individual who is dissatisfied with the process to seek redress in a peaceful manner and through the appropriate legal channels,” while encouraging Nigerians to register and collect their PVCs and to participate actively in the political process.
Eze said:The UK will continue to assist INEC and our partners in their aspiration to support peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Nigeria.”