By Miftaudeen Raji
The 2023 general elections are now over, but victims of electoral violence perpetrated during the polls still wait for justice.
At least 39 persons were reported to have lost their lives in different parts of the country during the polls.
According to statistics from the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD), violence topped a major factor that undermined INEC’s performance during the 2023 general election.
The Chairman of CDD Election Analysis Centre, EAC, Prof Adele Jinadu, at a news briefing in Abuja, said their data showed that violence occurred in 10.8 per cent of all polling units, which led to low voter turnout in the state elections.
Jinadu said, “10.8% of observed polling units recorded violence and this was most pronounced in the northwest (19.9%) and south-south (11.6%) geopolitical zones with Bayelsa and Zamfara respectively.”
The Director CDD, Idayat Hassan also noted that the motive of perpetrators of violence was to disrupt election processes.
According to Idayat, “Victims of this violence were voters, some of whom were disenfranchised as a result of having their ballot boxes snatched.”
Recall that the 2023 general elections were greeted by significant violence in states like Lagos, Abia, Nasarawa, Benue, Akwa Ibom, Osun, and Taraba.
Those who lost their lives during the elections include policemen, politicians, suspected thugs, and a yet-to-be-identified ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The Nigeria Police had vowed to arrest and prosecute those behind election violence, while many of the cases were unreported.
For example, in Lagos State, some electorates were attacked and threats were also issued during the just-concluded elections.
The former Lagos State National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, chairman Musiliu Akinsanya, also known as MC Oluomo, had allegedly threatened Igbos against voting against the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state. Following backlash that greeted this comment, MC Oluomo recanted his threat.
Similarly, one Jennifer Efedi was attacked by thugs suspected to be loyal to the APC during the presidential election.
In Rivers State, the Director of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Campaign Council in Ahoada East local government area of Rivers State, Chisom Lenard, was part of the five people killed in the last election.
An NYSC member, who was an ad-hoc staff member, was killed in Odual Clan in Abua/Odual local government area of the state.
Soldiers killed three persons suspected to be thugs at Ogbakiri community in Emohua Local Government Area of the state during the election.
In Nasarawa State, one man identified as Yunusa Lolo lost his life near the constituency collation centre in Awe local government area of Nasarawa State.
Akwa Ibom witnessed six deaths during the just-concluded general election.
Their death followed a supremacy battle for the soul of the state by rival political parties.
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