Yiaga Africa, a civil society organisation, on Sunday commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for suspending the Ekiti State East by-election over violence.
Director of Programmes, Yiaga Africa, Ms Cynthia Mbamalu, in a statement in Abuja said that the report of violence witnessed during the election was despicable and antithetical to democratic rules of credible elections.
Mbamalu said that INEC’s decision to suspend the process indefinitely was the most commendable thing to do as credible elections could not be conducted under a chaotic atmosphere.
“The commission and the police should immediately investigate this electoral violence and prosecute everyone guilty of this violence.
“The prosecution must include both the sponsors of the violence and the individuals deployed to cause the violence.
“Nigeria’s democracy can no longer be driven by renegades pretending to be political leaders and politicians.
“The immediate prosecution of these offenders will deter future actors and reduce this culture of impunity,” she said.
Mbamalu added that the Nigeria Police and other security agencies should live up to their responsibilities of protecting voters, voting materials and electoral officials before, during, and after elections.
She said that political parties and politicians should urge their supporters to shun violence and other acts capable of undermining electoral process.
She further said that unleashing mayhem on the electoral process, resulting in three deaths and gunshot wounds sustained by an NYSC members at their duty posts was an assault on democracy and the sanctity of life.
Mbamalu said that Yiaga Africa condemned in its totality the onslaught and the violence that led to the death of innocent persons.
She said that no citizen deserved to die in the course of performing civic responsibilities.
She added that the desperation of political actors to capture power, by all means, remained a threat to Nigeria’s electoral democracy.
She stressed that it was embarrassing to watch the political class violate the electoral laws with impunity and utmost disregard for the sanctity of life and good practice.
She said that no democracy would thrive if politicians circumvented the rule of law, deployed violence and other rigging tactics to win elections at all costs.
She urged the National Assembly to hasten the electoral amendment process to enable timely and diligent prosecution of electoral offenders, adding that the systemic challenges plaguing the process should also be addressed. (NAN)