A group, Yiaga Africa, yesterday described the reported electoral violence witnessed during the Ekiti East bye-elections held on March 20, 2021, as despicable and antithetical to the democratic rules of credible elections.
Yiaga Africa further stated that the unleashing of mayhem on the electoral process, which resulted in the death of Nigerians performing their civic duty and gunshot wounds sustained by a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member and a female police officer at their duty post, was an assault on democracy and the sanctity of life.
The foremost election group in a statement issued by its Director of Programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu, condemned in its totality the onslaught on the by-election in Ekiti State which has cost innocent lives.
According to Yiaga Africa, "No citizen deserves to die in the course of exercising his or her civic right and responsibility. The desperation of political actors to capture power by all means remains a threat to our electoral democracy.
"It is embarrassing to watch our political class violate the electoral laws with impunity and utmost disregard for the sanctity of life and good practice. No democracy can thrive if politicians circumvent the rule of law; deploy violence and other rigging tactics to win elections at all costs.
"We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) decision to suspend the process indefinitely as credible elections cannot be conducted in a chaotic atmosphere.
"The commission and the police should immediately investigate the electoral violence and prosecute everyone guilty of it. The prosecution must include both the sponsors of the violence and the individuals deployed to cause the violence. Nigeria's democracy can no longer be driven by renegades pretending to be political leaders/politicians."