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Saturday, 1 October 2016

"Largely peaceful, widespread inducement and vote buying" Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room assesses Edo state election

The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of civic groups dedicated to monitoring and improving the electoral process in Nigeria, has described the Edo State gubernatorial election as "largely peaceful" marred with incidents of "inducement and vote buying". While commending the high voter turnout, the group noted lamented that the collation of results was a major weakness. Read full press release issued on Thursday, summarizing its observations of the election held on Wednesday.

INTERIM STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM ON THE EDO STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 28TH SEPTEMBER 2016 
Issued: 2:00pm, Thursday, 29th September 2016

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) observed the Edo State Governorship election held Wednesday, 28th September 2016 and received field reports from its deployed observers and other election observer networks. 
Accordingly, the Situation Room would like to make the following observations:

GENERAL OBSERVATION:
The election was held against the background of a postponement that had cited security as a concern. The postponement fuelled perception in the public mind of a likelihood of bias. However, the atmosphere surrounding the election was largely peaceful and devoid of any major acts of violence, which was a concern for several citizens of Edo State and election observers.

While the process and conduct of the elections went smoothly, a major weak link in the conduct of elections in Nigeria again manifested – the collation of results – and this raised questions over the transparency of this particular process in the election. 
Turn out at the polls was impressive and voters generally were able to vote without fear or intimidation, although incidents of vote buying by both major contending political parties cast a shadow of interference with the exercise of free will by voters.

INEC:
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) made good effort to commence accreditation and voting early in most polling units across the State. Reports indicate early arrival of electoral officials and materials in most of the polling units in the State (as at 8:30 am officials had taken position in most polling units). However, there were reports of delay in opening of polls in some units across the State with several polling units not opening polls even up till about 9am and 10am. Electoral staff was generally professional and exhibited willingness to do their work.

The performance of the smart card readers was restricted to the authentication of the Permanent Voters Card as there were reports of widespread failure of verification of the fingerprints, which seemed to slow down the process in some polling units. However, there were reports of seeming collaboration between INEC personnel, security agents and parties to encourage vote buying by setting polling stations in such a manner as to breach secrecy of the polls and encourage inducement.

COLLATION OF VOTES:
Collation of votes was a major weak link in the conduct of the Edo State Governorship elections and marred the credibility of what was a well-organised election by INEC. Although voting ended early, the collation process was very slow and had to be suspended during the late evening, resuming the next morning. In the interval, there was no way of confirming or verifying the integrity of election materials, ballots and results. The gaps and challenges with collation of results certainly raises issues of transparency and integrity of the ballot and elections that INEC will need to resolve if elections in Nigeria is to be accepted as credible. 
The delays resulted in reports emanating from some Registration Area Centres and local governments of tampering with the votes. In Esan Central LGA, the Situation Room received reports of attempts to fiddle with the collation process by the inflation of voting figures in favour of a particular political party, after the process was concluded. In Oredo LGA – a largely urban area, the collation also progressed very slowly. 
In addition to slow collation and the attendant challenges, there were reports from several local governments of security personnel not being available to protect ballot materials and to accompany electoral officials from the polling units to the Ward Collation Centres and of their being absent at the different Collation Centres. This led to incidents of political party thugs attacking electoral officials and destroying materials as was reported in Ikpoba-Oka LGA, which has about 340 polling units.

SECURITY:
Security agencies were present and commendably deployed personnel during accreditation and voting. Up to the point of arrival of materials, security personnel were very professional and courteous. However, there was lack of coordination among the different arms of security agencies and inability to caution vote buying at the polling units.  
There seemed to have been a failure in the synergy between the security personnel and INEC and among security personnel on the field. This lack of synergy led to conflicting activities and as well, the absence of security at critical times of the election especially during the collation of results. Before the election, there were reports of materials that were unescorted in a few local governments areas particularly in Ward 6 in Orhionwon L.G.A. 
Welfare of security agencies was also a huge concern for the Situation Room, as most security personnel who interacted with our observers mentioned that they had not be provided with payment of allowances or given logistics support to enable them effectively carry out their roles.

POLITICAL PARTIES:
There were concerns of widespread inducement and vote buying in which two of the major contending parties were cited. The vote buying also led to the monitoring of the votes that were cast by officials of the said parties, apparently in a bid to ensure that voters who were paid voted as agreed. This monitoring was aided by the placement of the voting cubicles in a manner that enabled the party agents to monitor the ballots cast, thus violating the principle of secrecy of vote.

ELECTORATE:
Reports from observers indicate good turn out of voters in most of the polling units visited.
Generally, voters were very patient and queued up to cast their votes. The atmosphere surrounding the elections was largely peaceful with only few incidents of skirmishes reported. This was in contrast to fears created before the election that violence would be more prevalent.

RECOMMENDATIONS:
Following from its observation of the Edo Governorship election, Situation Room will like to make the following preliminary recommendations: 
1.     INEC:
a.     Situation Room calls on INEC to show a greater determination to improve on the electoral process by better managing the collation of results. A situation where voting concludes at the polling units early during the day and collation begins so much late at night does not allow for transparency and credibility of the electoral process.  
b.    In addition, INEC will need to take proactive steps to ensure that the secrecy of voting is protected and that political parties who buy votes are not placed in   a position that they can verify the thumb printing of ballot papers.

2.    SECURITY SERVICES:
There is an important need for revitalization of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security to ensure synergy and delivery on results by the agencies. The deployment of security personnel also needs to be better handled. Most of the security personnel deployed for the elections complained of not being paid their allowances leading to their personally paying their way to attend to the important national duty of elections. Although they report of assurances of their allowances being paid, this situation is not good enough and should be avoided so that security personnel do not become even more prone to inducement by political interests. 

The Situation Room is made up of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in support of credible and transparent elections in Nigeria and includes such groups as Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), CLEEN Foundation, Action Aid Nigeria, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Proactive Gender Initiative (PGI) Enough is Enough Nigeria, WANGONET, Partners for Electoral Reform, JDPC and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA). Others are Development Dynamics, Stakeholders Democracy Network, Human Rights Monitor, Election Monitor, Reclaim Naija, Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, CITAD, Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE) CISLAC, Edo CSOs, CONGOs Edo State and several other CSOs numbering more than seventy.

27 comments:

ONYX linda ikeji first son GODWIN said...

Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room ??????????!!!!!!!!!!! Hian!

Odibe Blessing said...

Okay

Yusuf Dimas said...

Ok...

Eddy Ogbunambala said...

Beautiful Ladies

Anonymous said...

All Edo people are grateful to the observers for this objective report. \I voted in the election - it is evident that the results announced by INEC are completely different from the results of the actual voting. The election was riddled with extreme corruption, perpetuated largely by APC the party that fields anti-corruption as its mantra.
If this edo election is allowed to stay, this charade of vote shifting will be repeated by APC in future elections and that will end democracy in Nigeria. All Nigerians, regardless of party affiliations must reject the result - the proper counting of votes must be done and the correct winner must be identified to prevent adverse political consequences in this country. Oshiomole is a fraud and a thief and he has finally shown his devilish coloration.

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okechukwu nnoduechi said...

GOOD TO SEE








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livingstone chibuike said...

Story. Apc dey kill Nigeria nd person dey here dey talk peaceful

Eddy Ogbunambala said...

Ok

King Maker said...

I dont blame apc at all i blame edo people who even voted for apc in the first place given them more power to rigg election

Vivian Reginalds said...

WELL...
-D great anonymous now as Vivian Reginalds

lovina said...

Hmmm oshiomale and his cohort shame on apc Buhari it will never be well with u people for not letting d vote of edo people count even apc party in edo state know that pdp won d election shame on u all

Juliet Iwuno said...

It is well. Linda take note!

Anonymous said...

Long story. Everyone knows the APC scam that took place in Edo. It shall never be well with Buhari and his evil men. God pls don't abandon us, divide Nigeria Oh Lord.

ike manuel said...

God takeover!

Na me talk am!

Long Live Lib!!!

Anonymous said...

It is sad that as Nigerians biase has becloud our reasoning. This is serious danger to us as a people.
It is true that the current economic recession is bitting hard n people re disappointed with the apc national govt (including me). However, the political dynamics in Edo was influence majorly by the antecedents of the pdp n apc governance in the state. The outcome of the election was a self inflicted defeat by pdp as Lucky Igbinedion and osagie ize-iyamu openly confirmed that the state treasury will be controlled by the Igbinedion family again. Edo people knows what that means, oshiomhole may not ve been perfect but can't be near the disaster the Igbinedion represents. Voting was peaceful n counting concluded at units early, so the results re clear. The report above is fair reflection of what happened. Pdp could ve won but not with the Igbinedion family returning to power.

anonymous said...

I am not a supporter of PDP but Ize Iyamu should do what oshiomhole did by going to court to demand the ballot papers be investigated for biometric fraud. Fingerprints on the ballot papers can be sent to the lab abroad to verify any form of fraud. But i am a strong advocate of the open ballot system which is the best way to conduct a free and fair election in Nigeria since we are not well equipped to have a free and fair secret ballot system. And i want to ask president Buhari, if he is not a Fraud, why havent he advocated for the open ballot system which is freer and more transparent?

OSINANL said...

Okay

Anonymous said...

By this statement,it is clear the Edo state election was rigged..going back to the PDP claim few days ago that fake election result will be announced..here " the collation of results – and this raised questions over the transparency of this particular process in the election. "

bonny girl said...

Amen!!!!

Anonymous said...

Everyone is quick to judge, one of the observers who I'm close to said that both parties bought votes for the election. Meaning. Both parties are guilty. I'm not a fan of politics, neither am I a supporter of any party.I feel the people of edo state voted for who was known which was the APC candidate.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is quick to judge, one of the observers who I'm close to said that both parties bought votes for the election. Meaning. Both parties are guilty. I'm not a fan of politics, neither am I a supporter of any party.I feel the people of edo state voted for who was known which was the APC candidate. YST

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Audu Momodu said...

The New INEC is a Department in APC. This credible institution developed by President Yar Adua and perfected by President Jonathan has been destroyed by Buhari. The APC did not Win the Election and can never Win the Heart of Majority of Edo People. This is a rape to humanity and Nigeria's Development. What a shame

Deji Kola said...

Everybody knows that Oshomole, Zakari Mohammed and Buhari Rigged the Election. Even Lara Oshomole's Father knows

Seun Combs said...

U voted and U think d results announced doesn't reflec d voting pattern. Is ur vote alone equal to 100,000 votes? And how did U know how others voted?

Seun Combs said...

U still need to go back to the Kindergarten if u said INEC was developed by Yaradua! Even Yaradua himself told the whole world that the election that brought he and GEJ to power wasn't an election but imposition. And the PDP spent their 16yrs rigging elections with reckless abandon yet they didn't destroy democracy. Even people like Fayose will open his mouth when we all know how GEJ and PDP used all the state apparatus including our budget to make him the Gov. If PDP is aggrieved they should pls go to the courts to get their 'stolen mandate' back, at least that was how Oshiomhole too got his from PDP.

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