The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) commended Nigeria’s electoral umpire for its performance in the concluded off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states. The commendation came through a recent communique released in Abuja, recognising INEC’s efforts despite numerous challenges.
“We, the opposition CUPP leaders, along with members of the press and fellow Nigerians, feel compelled to share our insights on the recently concluded off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states,” the statement read in part.
Acknowledging that perfection in elections is a global challenge, the CUPP referred to historical instances in advanced democracies, including the 2020 U.S. presidential election. They emphasized the continuous evolution of democracy and its ongoing pursuit of an ideal state.
Furthermore, the CUPP’s evaluation of the off-cycle elections noted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s improvement in managing challenges, particularly in staff and materials deployment. “Reports by various observer groups and our members on ground, especially Party agents, suggested that there was a great improvement in the early arrival of INEC officials and election materials at Polling Units. in this aspect of timely staff and material deployments, we can confidently estimate that INEC scored at least 80%,” CUPP said.
Security efforts across the three states were acknowledged, though incidents like the abduction of an INEC staff member and a boat accident in Bayelsa State were unfortunate. “The security situation in Imo was noted as challenging but not as severe as predicted,” the organisation stated.
The persistent issue of vote-buying was addressed, with CUPP recommending stringent criminalization and enforcement. “We urge collective responsibility in curbing electoral malfeasance, emphasizing that blaming INEC alone is counterproductive,” the group said.
CUPP’s general overview highlighted Kogi State as having the best-conducted and outcome-oriented election, according to the statement. While lauding INEC’s prompt response to complaints, concerns were raised about Imo State, prompting a call for thorough investigations to instill public confidence.
The group also called on relevant agencies to investigate allegations, particularly in areas of voter intimidation, over-voting, vote-buying, and security breaches. “We recommend proactive measures by security agencies in future elections, commending their recent efforts but encouraging continued improvement in election security mechanisms,” the statement read in part.