U.S Urges INEC To Address Concerns Before March 11 Elections

 The U.S. has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address technical hitches reportedly associated with the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) before the governorship and state assembly elections on March 11.

Ned Price, spokesperson for the State Department, in a statement, said Nigerians were clearly within their rights to have such concerns and should have high expectations for their electoral processes in the just-concluded Presidential poll.

“We join other international observers in urging INEC to improve in the areas that need the most attention ahead of the March 11 elections.

“We understand that many Nigerians and some of the parties have expressed frustration about the manner in which the process was conducted.

“They have also expressed frustration about the shortcomings of technical elements that were used for the first time in a presidential election cycle,’’ he said.

Price, however, advised the aggrieved presidential candidates to use all legal means to correct the anomaly.

“There are well-established mechanisms in place for the adjudication of electoral disputes, and we encourage any candidate or party seeking to challenge the outcome to pursue redress through those mechanisms.

“We call on all parties, candidates, and supporters to refrain from violence or inflammatory rhetoric at this critical time,” the spokesperson said.

In addition, Price commended the active participation of civil society and the media for advancing electoral norms and political discourse on issues of importance to citizens.

He said the U.S. noted with concern reports that numerous members of the media were attacked during the course of the election.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, announced that Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), won the election with the majority of votes cast across Nigeria.

The APC candidate polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat fellow contenders – Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 6,984,520 votes, Labour Party’s Peter Obi had 6,101,533 votes to come third and candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, who polled 1,496,687 votes to place a distant fourth.

Of the 36 states and FCT, Tinubu, Obi and Atiku won 12 states each while Kwankwaso won only Kano State. (NAN)

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