Home News Exposed! How Suppression, violence marred 2023 elections – US report

Exposed! How Suppression, violence marred 2023 elections – US report

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By Chris Udochukwu

A 2023 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, Nigeria, by the U.S. Department of State has shed light on various irregularities and challenges faced during the country’s 2023 elections.

While acknowledging that the elections largely reflected the will of voters, the report highlighted issues that marred the electoral process.

According to the report sighted by PUNCH Online on Thursday, “Many independent observers assessed the results of the presidential, legislative, and state-level elections during the year reflected the will of voters, despite reports of voter suppression and vote buying, campaigning at polling stations, lack of ballot secrecy, violence, and intimidation.”

The report cited an incident which occurred during the March 18 state election in Lagos, stating, “During the March 18 state election in Lagos, All Progressives Congress (APC) supporters reportedly intimidated and suppressed voters in Igbo-dominated areas, which Labour Party presidential candidate and ethnically Igbo Peter Obi won in the February 25 national election.

The report further states, “Viral videos on social media showed APC supporters in Ojo threatening to attack ethnic Igbo voters presumed to be pro-Obi. In Eti-Osa, APC supporters also attacked journalists and, in some cases, shut down voting and prevented non-Yoruba voters from accessing polls. They similarly destroyed property and physically blocked voters in Amuwo-Odofin.”

“According to videos posted on social media, police officers were present but failed to respond to attacks. There was no evidence that alleged perpetrators were arrested or prosecuted,” the report said.

The report also highlighted the persistent underrepresentation of women and marginalized groups in Nigerian politics. “The national average of women’s political participation in Nigeria was 6.7 per cent in elected and appointed positions,” it stated, citing religious, cultural, and economic barriers as contributing factors.

A gender-based violence survey of the 2023 elections conducted by the NGO ElectHER found that “religious and cultural barriers such as double standards, blackmailing, and media smear campaigns were actively used against women politicians.”

The report further noted that media outlets often stereotyped women politicians and, in some cases, refused to cover their campaigns allegedly on the orders of opposition officials and candidates.

“Media outlets stereotyped women politicians as “promiscuous” or “cunning” and in some cases refused to cover their campaigns allegedly on the orders of opposition officials and candidates,” it said

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