US Human Rights Report: Nigeria’s 2023 Election Deemed Reflective of Voter Will Despite Irregularities

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The recently released 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices by the US has shed light on Nigeria’s electoral process, particularly the general election that saw President Bola Tinubu elected into office. Despite widespread irregularities, the report suggests that the election generally mirrored the electorate’s preferences.

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Highlighted in the report, however, are instances of voter intimidation and suppression during the March 2023 governorship election in Lagos, particularly in Igbo-dominated areas. Supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were implicated in these actions, which marred the electoral process.

Published by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, US Department of State, the report delves into human rights practices and violations across various countries, including Nigeria. It acknowledges the technical and logistical challenges faced during the elections but notes that overall, the outcomes were deemed reflective of voter will.

Specific incidents of voter suppression, intimidation, and violence were reported, particularly in Lagos state. APC supporters were accused of intimidating voters in Igbo-dominated areas, where Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi had previously garnered significant support.

The report cited viral social media videos showing APC supporters in Ojo threatening ethnic Igbo voters presumed to be pro-Obi. Additionally, incidents of attacks on journalists, disruption of voting processes, and obstruction of non-Yoruba voters in Eti-Osa and Amuwo-Odofin were documented.

Despite the presence of law enforcement officers, their failure to respond adequately to these attacks raised concerns about the impartiality and effectiveness of security measures during elections.

Furthermore, the report addressed ongoing corruption within the Nigerian government. It highlighted President Tinubu’s controversial appointment of former Governor Abubakar Bagudu as Minister of Budget, despite Bagudu’s alleged involvement in embezzlement during the Abacha regime.

Additionally, the report mentioned the arrest of former Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele on charges of defrauding the government. These incidents underscored the persistent challenges of corruption and impunity within Nigeria’s political landscape, casting doubts on the government’s commitment to accountability and transparency.

As Nigeria grapples with these complex issues, the US report serves as a critical assessment of the country’s democratic processes and governance practices, emphasizing the need for reforms to uphold human rights and democratic principles.


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