Off-cycle polls: CACOL deems the Kogi outcome to be extremely trustworthy.

Off-cycle polls: CACOL deems the Kogi outcome to be extremely trustworthy.The recently concluded off-cycle elections in the states of Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi demonstrated a notable improvement in the effectiveness of the Independent National Electoral Commission despite numerous challenges, according to a statement released on Friday by the Center for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL).

According to the National Anti-Corruption and Democracy Civil Society Organization, if the significant efforts made to organize the off-season polls were repeated in subsequent elections, Nigeria will quickly master elections.

"In the end analysis, the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States scored higher marks in terms of organization, voter turnout, peaceful election except for isolated incidents," according to a statement released by CACOL and signed by its Chairman, Debo Adeniran, and made available to the media.

All things considered, it was noted that "the conduct and outcome of the off-season election, especially in Kogi State, was highly credible, despite pre-election apprehension."

The Center, however, cautioned official and independent election observers not to mislead the public about how elections are conducted because of political lessons, stating that doing so would ultimately be detrimental to Nigeria's democracy.

In the sake of Nigeria's democracy, CACOL stated, "Independent and official observers must also shun deliberate misinformation about election conduct as a result of political leaning for objective analyses."

Additionally, security services received great marks, stating that they overcame major hurdles in Imo State.

It is easy to observe some notable advances in the Independent National Electoral Commission's (INEC) ability to oversee free, fair, and credible polls, according to the study conducted by CACOL. At the very least, we were able to observe the Commission's concerted efforts to complete tasks correctly and observe how they battled a variety of issues, including ongoing logistical nightmares, personnel risks, local political hostilities, and politicians' usual shenanigans intended to taint the process.

"Despite all of these obstacles, INEC appeared to have succeeded well, showing clear signs of advancements in the way those elections were run. It won't be long before we finally get it right if the significant efforts made to conduct the previous off-cycle elections are repeated in future elections.

This is not to be interpreted as an admission that everything went according to plan. For example, among other issues, we vehemently denounce instances of voter suppression, especially in Imo State.

"We suggest that improved security measures be put in place for INEC personnel and supplies in future elections. More significantly, the Commission needs to figure out how to work with local community leaders who are not politicians to get support and hold nonviolent elections.

For example, in Kogi State, we witnessed how some patriotic voters helped some INEC personnel who were having trouble getting non-sensitive supplies to the polling places on their heads and set up chairs and tables for them. This demonstrated a strong desire for a fair and legitimate election as well as an understanding that all individuals, not just INEC and security services, had responsibilities related to elections.

"From now on, whenever there are accusations of voter intimidation or general violence, INEC should halt elections before things get out of hand. When an election needs to be stopped, it is preferable to do so before the laborious procedures of casting ballots have been completed.

Experience has demonstrated that, in terms of voter turnout and security, reruns and new elections in which the polls had been canceled frequently performed significantly worse than anticipated. Reluctance to repeat the practice is common among people.

"Although there is certainly much need for improvement, the security agencies did a commendable job in their election tasks in the three states. They performed exceptionally well in the states of Bayelsa and Kogi, but they appeared to face significant challenges in Imo State. Things would have become awful even in Imo state if they hadn't been as firm as they were.

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