By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
A research conducted by The Election Network has revealed that only 30 of 80% Nigerians with voter cards voted in 2019 elections.
The Election Network is a digital media company delivering creative, intelligent and data-driven journalism around global elections.
Speaking yesterday while addressing newsmen in Abuja, Asari Ndem, Editor of The Election Network, said the revelation was the lowest recorded voter turnout in the history of Nigeria’s democracy.
“We wanted to understand why this had happened, to enable us make submissions to policymakers on how this level of failure can be avoided in coming elections. So, we decided to talk to the people.
“To show the human impact of electoral deficiencies on average Nigerians, The Election Network produced a documentary titled “Left Behind.” In this documentary, we interviewed Nigerians who were unable to or chose not to vote during the 2019 elections.”
She said the Network found out that Nigerians who did not votes were stalled by factors like administrative shortcomings, intimidation, and violence.
“What stood out the most is violence. Between 2003 and 2019 alone, over 1932 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.
“Other barriers to voting were technical and administrative issues like the failure of card readers, and the lack of provisions for people living with disabilities.”