Despite irregularities, 2023 elections reflected will of Nigerians – US Report

Adebari Oguntoye
Adebari Oguntoye

The 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices by the US have revealed that Nigeria’s last year’s general election, which produced President Bola Tinubu, reflected the will of the electorate despite widespread irregularities.

According to the report, the supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) intimidated voters and suppressed their votes in Igbo-dominated areas of Lagos, during the March 2023 governorship election.

This was revealed in the report published by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, US Department of State, stressing human rights practices and violations in different countries, including Nigeria.

“National elections were widely reported to have reflected the will of voters, despite technical and logistical difficulties, and some irregularities,” the report stated.

“Many independent observers assessed that the results of the presidential, legislative, and state-level elections during the year reflected the will of voters, despite reports of voter suppression and vote buying, campaigning at polling stations, lack of ballot secrecy, violence, and intimidation.

“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 Peter Obi won in the February 25 national election.

“Viral videos on social media showed APC supporters in Ojo (a LGA in Lagos) 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.

“According to videos posted on social media, police officers were present but failed to respond to attacks.”

Speaking about the corruption in the government, the report stated the menace has not been totally addressed as some of the corrupt officials are appointed into public positions.

“In August, President Tinubu appointed former Governor Abubakar Bagudu, the Minister of Budget, despite Bagudu’s widely reported history of helping then-President Sani Abacha steal hundreds of millions of dollars from the government in the 1990s,” the report said.

“Police arrested former Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele on June 10 and charged him and a co-defendant with defrauding the government of 6.5 billion naira ($10.4 million), later reduced to 1.6 billion naira ($2.5 million).”

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