2023 Abia Governorship / House of Assembly Elections Marred By Low Turnout Of Voters – PAWP


FIC Report (Abia State) – The Pan African Women Project (PAWP) has noted that the 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections was marred by voter apathy which was as a result of the low turnout recorded in various polling units as against the Presidential election.

The Group, an International Non Governmental Organisation of African Women with the mission of promoting good governance stated this in Umuahia during a Press Conference where they highlighted their observations on the last election processes.

According to the spokesperson of the Group, Mrs Bontela Matjila, generally, the turnout of voters was very poor.

Aside, some polling units were candidates voted with some of their supporters, majority of other polling units visited recorded low turn out as 28 States across the nation conduct their 2023 Governorship and StateHhouse of Assembly Elections.

Matjila who revealed that three weeks ago, Nigerians went to the polls to elect their President, Senators and House of Representative Members also said, out of 93.47 million registered voters, only 24.9 million persons, representing 26.72 percent, voted in the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

She further explained that several reasons have been cited for the poor voter turnout being experienced during the excercise including voter apathy adding that they observed through their interactions with voters that the postponement of the election by one week equally dampened the spirits of the electorate.2023 Abia Governorship / House of Assembly Elections Marred By Low Turnout Of Voters - PAWP

She reiterated that It would have been a different case if all the elections were conducted alongside Presidential election at the same time.

Also, INEC’s inability to transmit results especially during the Presidential election to IREV across the States altered people’s trust in the electoral system noting that with poor perception of INEC’s credibility, the citizens doubted if their votes would count.

The International Observers equally described the Security Agencies’ duty as regards to the excersice as unprofessional when many polling units were seen without any security personnel on duty despite the assurances that was given by the Agencies repeatedly to the electoral body, government and citizens regarding their safety and peace during the election.

Most importantly PAWP expressed deep concern on the quality of the Personnel INEC sent out to the field on election duties including young NYSC Members who were easily induced by corrupt Politicians and their Party Agents, they suggest that disciplined religious bodies and organisations with a pedigree like Directors of Federal and State Ministries, NGOs, who would not be able to compromise their position and retirement benefits should be considered over young fragile Corps Members.

Again, the Group observed serious vote buying snatching of ballot boxes, influencing during the governorship election by party members at some of the polling units which cohesively cause people to vote for their party at the voting booth.

The Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections had pockets of violence and intimidation observed in the three Senatorial zones of Abia State perpetuated across party lines.

The Pan African Women Projects PAWP therefore commend the brevity and integrity of the INEC Returning Officer in the State, Prof (Mrs) Nnenna N. Oti, the Vice Chancellor Federal University of Technology (FUTO), Owerri for her role in ensuring that the peoples vote and mandate counted.

They also recommend to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to engage more women of proven integrity such as Prof Mrs Nnenna Oti as Returning Officers for further elections.

Finally, it’s important also that the electoral body redress the gray areas that have questioned the credibility of the electoral body and 2023 General Elections urgently and return back to the Commission the immediate past Director ICT whose brain child is the BVAS TECHNOLOGY to effect necessary upgrades and protocols that will enhance the performance of the BIVAS in subsequent elections making the electoral process more transparent.

Okugo Nwadiuto Mabel
Information Officer
FIC Umuahia