Civil society group, the Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (Centre for Transparency Advocacy), which deployed over 100 observers to the Edo governorship election has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Over the peaceful and transparent conduct of the election.
The group in a statement signed by the Director Communication and Mobilization/ Head of Observer Team, Faith Nwadishi also affirmed that the deployment of men and materials by INEC, as well as security agents to polling units was done on schedule.
It said despite isolated infractions in some areas, the election was peaceful. It also hailed the turnout of voters, describing it as impressive
She said, “We also observed that accreditation and voting started as early as 8: 15 am in most polling units across the state. For instance, voting commenced in Unit 45 after accreditation in Ogiomo Secondary school, Ward 6 Ikboba-Okha as early as 8:22 am. Voter turnout was impressive and people patiently waited to cast their votes.
“Some isolated infractions were reported at Ujemen ward 5 units 8 as a result of shooting by NSCDC personnel as they were alleged to be harassing voters and that led voters to scamper for safety. The Royal father of Uromi in Esan North East, HRH Anslem Edoenojie 11 was equally, reported to have been assaulted by a thug.
“Significantly, at this point, we commend INEC and its leadership for the forthrightness in conducting a peaceful, transparent and largely free and fair elections in Edo state.”
She said the observers however noticed that Vote buying by all the political parties was dominant, that
there was no coordination and synergy between the security agencies, that the Police did not interfere even when there were seeming infractions.
Other observations include that placement of the cubicles compromised the secret ballot principle, Election was generally peaceful, Collation was slow at ward level, Most of the collation centres had no electricity and collation officers are challenged by poor visibility and that the result sheets are of poor quality and therefore, some of the figures were not legible.
She said, “Logistics for the movement of Youth corps members was not tidy leading to most of the Corpers walking long distances or arriving late to duty posts, Turnout was impressive, INEC and its officials discharged their duties creditably, Security agents were courteous, There were a good number of unused ballot papers and there was no display of declared results at some polling units.”
As a way forward, “The independence of INEC must remain sacrosanct as INEC is implored to remain resolute in the defence of our nascent democracy.
“There must be synergy and proper coordination of security agencies and their welfare.. Especially, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General DSS and NSCDC must sit up and reappraise their election duty strategies. They must be proactive in resolving inter agency issues and work collaboratively.
“Placement of cubicles should be in such a way that voting principles of privacy will not be compromised.
“We recommend further commitment, synergy and consultations between security agencies and statutory institutions to protect our democracy and an improvement in Ondo state.”