#EkitiDecides2018: 4 Major Things Observers Say Marred Election
Election observers at the Ekiti governorship poll have started releasing their reports.
Both domestic and international observers highlighted some weaknesses of the exercise while they lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the proper conduct of the poll in line with global and constitutional dictates and standards.
The observers also noted that the INEC has improved on card readers this time.
But it was the INEC only that got the praise, as there were other things the observers said marred the process, including the deployment of security agencies.
The observers were representatives from over 50 domestic organisations, human rights groups and international election monitoring groups.
Here are the major irregularities they identified.
1. Deployment Of 30,000 Security Agents
The observers said the conduct of some of the security operatives largely marred the electoral process.
They said that the election fell short of global best practices and electoral standards.
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2. Buying Of Votes
The reality of a recent poverty index released about Nigeria played out during Ekiti governorship election and the observers saw it.
One of the International observers, Mrs. Virginia Marumoa-Gae, of the International Republican Institute (IRIS) in South Africa, said trouble began at 11 a.m when vote buying started and this caused chaos across all the wards and polling units.
“Voters showed their ballot papers to party agents to collect money, thugs disrupted voting process by shooting, but the police and other attaching security agents did well by establishing their presence at the polling units as stipulated by the constitution," Marumoa-Gae said.
3. Ballot Box Snatching
A Senator from Kogi West, Dino Melaye, who was also monitoring the polls on the day shared a video of chaos at a polling unit in the state, with ballot papers scattered on the ground and the ballot box destroyed.
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The observers also confirmed this incident.
4. Sporadic Shootings
They also said that there were sporadic shootings and driving away of some party agents as well as intimidation, oppression and forceful influence of electorates’ free will.
The observers held that the July 14 poll cannot be recommended as a template for the forthcoming 2019 general elections as it fell short of global standards.
Some of the observer bodies include Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, (Nigeria), Justice and Equity Organisation, (Nigeria), International Republican Institute (South Africa), and Patriotic Women Foundation, (Abuja) as well as the other bodies from the African Union among others.a
Dr.Gabriel Nwambu, of the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, Abuja, said the “reports of observers remain a potential tool for election tribunals and other monitoring and relevant bodies for post election activities".
"Fifty one reputable domestic observer groups were on ground in all the 177 wards, 16 Local Government Areas and all the polling units in the state to monitor the poll."
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