Ahead of the 2023 general elections, The Election Network (TEN), Abuja, has said the 2019 elections were a setback for Nigeria’s electoral and democratic framework. It said only 30 per cent of the over 80 million Nigerians that collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) actually participated in the elections.
The Editor, TEN, Abuja, Asari Ndem, told newsmen on Thursday in Abuja that a repeat must be prevented in the interest of the democratic and socio-economic development of the country.
She was speaking at the unveiling of a research documentary titled ‘Left Behind’ with interviewed Nigerians telling their reasons for their inability to vote during the 2019 elections.
According to her, 30 per cent of the people that voted during the 2019 elections was the lowest recorded voter turnout in the history of Nigeria’s democracy.
“We found that these Nigerians were stalled by factors like administrative shortcomings, intimidation, and violence. But what stood out the most is violence. Between 2003 and 2019 alone, over 1,932 electoral-violence-related deaths were recorded, with 626 of these deaths occurring in 2019 alone.
“To paraphrase one of our expert interviewees, we attribute the low voter turnout to voter apathy but what really exists is voter fear; fear of intimidation and violence. The presence of heavy military and police personnel in certain regions aggravated this fear and prevented people from voting.
“In the 2019 general elections, there were at least 13 incidences of electoral violence as a result of military presence at polling units,” she said