Speaking with Daily Trust yesterday president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Austin Alegeh (SAN) said the election is a sign that Nigeria could become a better country. He also gave a pass mark to the security agencies, saying they have performed satisfactorily.“For us they have all worked very well but nobody is perfect. For example the security agencies arrived at venues before INEC. In all we are satisfied that the elections are basically free and fair.“No doubt there have been incidents of violence, and card reader failure was a major challenge. But INEC rose up to the challenge and took steps to address the issues. We believe what have been done could have been done better, but it is better than what it used to be,” he said.Also speaking, Chris Uche (SAN) described the election as an improvement on past exercises.“We thank God there have not been violence as expected. Apart from the initial hitches, things are moving okay. And I think it was good for INEC to have extended the voting to the next day,” he said.On the performance of security agencies, he said though he has not gone round the country, but from what he had observed, they have performed “creditably well.”In his contribution, Sam Ologun-Orissa (SAN) thanked God for making the election largely successful.“INEC deserves our commendation for eliminating incidents of ballot snatching, multiple voting and rigging. The setbacks with card reader are a mere distraction to the substance of the main election. In my unit, the card reader worked well. The pockets of irregularities did not substantially affect the substance of the election,” he said.Also, the NBA Election Working Group inaugurated by the president of the body intensified its monitoring of the elections which continued on Sunday.In a statement on Saturday by the chairman of the group, Dafe Akpedeye (SAN), the association said it was accredited as one of the domestic observers of the polls scheduled for March 28 and April 11 and called on all lawyers to actively participate in the process and send reports of their observations to the Situation Room in Abuja.Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room anchored by Festus Okoye and Clem Nwankwo, both constitutional lawyers in a statement commended voters for their conduct so far in the general elections.While commending Gombe voters for their courage in participating in the polls despite the terrorist attacks in the state, he highlighted the late commencement of elections, challenges with accreditation process; performance of the security agencies; and use of social media as major areas of challenge in the elections.“We urge all Nigerians to remain orderly and law abiding and to refrain from actions that may further challenge the electoral process. We urge the public to cooperate with the relevant authorities and to report any action capable of undermining the electoral process to the appropriate authorities and civic organisations,” the statement said.
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