Election monitors accredited to cover last Saturday’s local government elections held in Enugu State have advised all candidates and political parties to accept the outcome as it was a true reflection of the electorate’s wishes and decisions.
Noting that the council polls met every accepted standards in line with the State Electoral Laws, they implored the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) to proceed with the immediate issuance of Certificate of Return to the winners as declared by the commission to pave the way for their subsequent inauguration and effective governance and representation at the grassroots.
The group said that its team of observers duly accredited by ENSIEC sent different groups to monitor the elections in the three senatorial districts in the state and that their verdict revealed that the exercise was calm, peaceful, orderly and transparent without any unlawful interference.
“We conclude by saying that the November 4, 2017 Enugu State Local Government Elections actually took place as scheduled under a conducive and peaceful atmosphere. The election was very peaceful across the entire LGAs visited by our teams,” said the group in a statement signed by Comrade Kalu Victor and Hon. Daniel Nkpanam, team leader and team secretary respectively.
The monitors commended the Enugu State government for its decision to conduct local government election in accordance with the dictates of the Nigerian constitution and gave thumbs up to the Nigeria Police for providing a secure and peaceful environment.
Commending ENSIEC for its adequate preparation in deploying all the needed logistics and materials on time and ensuring the success of the election, the group advised that priority in subsequent elections be given to difficult terrains and remote communities in the distribution of electoral materials to ensure timely commencement of voting in such areas.
It also canvassed a robust engagement with credible civil society organisations, and an intensive voter education, sensitization and mobilization ahead of every election as these will improve voter participation.
Earlier, 37 political parties in Enugu (there are 40 registered in the state) had endorsed the outcome of the council elections, describing the exercise as free and fair.
A communique issued and signed by chairpersons of the parties had after a press conference held this Monday, in Enugu, praised ENSIEC for successfully organizing a peaceful election noting that it “met the minimum requirements of international best practices”.
The party chiefs congratulated candidates who were elected as council chairmen and councilors as well as those who lost. They further implored the winners to be magnanimous in victory and extend hands of fellowship to the losers, advising them to be sportsmanlike in defeat.
While noting that there could be no real yardstick to assess democratic progress without the losers in elections, the political parties chairmen urged aggrieved candidates to “express their grievances in accordance with the electoral laws of the state by approaching the Local Government Election Tribunal to ventilate their dissatisfaction if any”.
ENSIEC had announced that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the entire 17 chairmanship seats in last Saturday’s council elections. The party was also declared winners in 258 council wards out of the 260 electoral wards in the state. The process in the remaining two wards was declared inconclusive.