From Idongesit Inyang
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)accredited domestic observers for the just concluded bye-elections in Cross River State have advised aggrieved stakeholders in the elections to resort to peaceful resolution of conflict in the post-election era.
The INEC domestic observers are a coalition team led by a nongovernmental organization, Africa for Millennium Change Initiatives, which was in Cross River to observe the by-elections in Ogoja/Yala Federal and Akpabuyo State Constituencies.
In its evaluation report made available to Weekend Pioneer in Calabar, the coalition leader, Ambassador Prince Felix Ihonre, stated that the elections were peaceful, free and fair, with some forms of minimal electoral malpractices in some voting centres.
Ihonre also said that the coalition team observed a high voters apathy in totality though there were large turnout in some areas and scanty in some other areas even when INEC Adhoc staff and voting materials were readily on ground.
He admitted in the report that there was no major violence during the process except aggrieved voters who were denied their voting right as they could not be captured by the BVAS machine.
The team leader also said that the peaceful conduct of the by-elections experienced in some areas was as a result of the strong advocacy by various stakeholders in the state and the country.
According to him, his coalition team had before the elections called on all eligible voters and citizens of the state where the by-elections would be conducted, to maintain a peaceful atmosphere during and after the elections.
The team, he further said, had also informed stakeholders to say no to violence but yes to peace and a secured nation so that “Wecan all live in harmony.”
Ihonre, said the coalition has used the medium to invite all stakeholders to partner “in our peace, Nonviolence and credible election advocacy beyond 2022.