Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Edo poll: Democracy ‘will mean nothing’ if votes don’t count: Buhari

Opposition PDP has just defeated the ruling APC in the Edo gubernatorial election.

• September 20, 2020
President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari (Photo Credit: Garba Shehu)

President Muhammadu Buhari wants to strengthen the electoral process to make votes count, his spokesman Garba Shehu suggests in a statement on Sunday.

PDP candidate Governor Godwin Obaseki won the Edo state gubernatorial election with 55% of votes on Saturday. He defeated the candidate of President Buhari’s party APC, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
“My commitment to free and fair elections is firm, because without free and fair elections, the foundation of our political and moral authority will be weak,” Mr. Buhari is quoted to have said in the presidency’s statement. 

“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with.”
Civil society groups such as CLEEN Foundation say the Edo election was largely peaceful but vote-buying was widespread. YIAGA Africa observed voter intimidation, shootings and other violence in about half of the local government areas. 

Fraud and violence have been rampant in recent elections. In 2019, a local opposition leader Salome Abuh was burned to death during the Kogi gubernatorial election.

Last week, there was a fire at an INEC facility in Ondo state where another gubernatorial election will be held on 10 October.

The electoral commission said some of its voting equipment was destroyed in the fire. 

The National Assembly passed an electoral reform bill in 2018, but President Buhari refused to assent to the bill and did not propose reforms of his own.  

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