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APC intimidated, suppressed voters in Igbo-dominated areas during Lagos election – US govt

Rhodes Vivour files 21 grounds of appeal, challenges tribunal verdict on Sanwo-Olu

The United States Government said that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) facilitated voter intimidation and suppression in Igbo-majority areas during the March 18, 2023, governorship election in Lagos State.

The US Department of State revealed this in its recent report titled, ‘2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria.’

The report stated that after Peter Obi of the Labour Party won the February 25, 2023, presidential election in Lagos, the ruling party sponsored thugs to prevent Igbos from voting for Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Labour Party candidate and ensured the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

“During the March 18 state election in Lagos, All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters reportedly intimidated and suppressed voters in Igbo-dominated areas, which Labour Party presidential candidate and ethnically Igbo Peter Obi won in the February 25 national election.

“Viral videos on social media showed APC supporters in Ojo threatening to attack ethnic Igbo voters presumed to be pro-Obi. In Eti-Osa, APC supporters also attacked journalists and, in some cases, shut down voting and prevented non-Yoruba voters from accessing polls. They similarly destroyed property and physically blocked voters in Amuwo-Odofin,” the report stated

The US government recognised that despite challenges and irregularities, Nigeria’s national elections were widely reported to have reflected the will of voters.

Observers noted that the presidential, legislative, and state elections generally reflected voter will, despite instances of voter suppression, vote buying, campaigning at polling stations, compromised ballot secrecy, violence, and intimidation.

The report referenced additional videos showing police inaction at polling stations during electoral misconduct and violence.

“According to videos posted on social media, police officers were present but failed to respond to attacks. There was no evidence that alleged perpetrators were arrested or prosecuted,” the report noted.

The US government also noted that women hold only around 6.7% of elected and appointed political positions in Nigeria.

According to the report, cultural and religious barriers, along with economic disadvantages, limit women’s leadership opportunities.

It also found that media outlets and political opponents use stereotypes and smear campaigns to undermine female politicians.

“Media outlets stereotyped women politicians as “promiscuous” or “cunning” and in some cases refused to cover their campaigns allegedly on the orders of opposition officials and candidates,” the report stated.