© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Aside massive vote buying, Ekiti election largely transparent, observer group reports
PARTNERS West Africa Nigeria (PWAN), a non-governmental human rights organisation, says the recently held Ekiti governorship election was largely transparent and devoid of malpractice save for the massive incidences of vote buying.
This was contained in the group’s report on observation of Human Rights Infractions in the election which was won by Kayode Fayemi, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
PWAN said it had 400 trained observers (300 visible and 100 invisible), scattered over 213 polling units in Ekiti, and also deployed a mobile application called “Kobo Collect” for ease of use by the observers on the day of election.
The application aided observers to collect data and upload their observation real time.
A greater percentage of the observers reported that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) arrived on time at majority of the polling units and that the election process began in good time.
Also, while there was the presence of security personnel, they did not interfere with the election process, neither did they prevent journalists and observers from doing their jobs.
Political party agents from the various political parties were also allowed to monitor proceedings without hindrance. And after the voting and counting of votes at the various polling units, “voting materials and result forms where duly secured and taken to the ward collation centers by the presiding officers, the security personnel and the party agents in line with S.65 of the Electoral Act 2010.”
However, “most observers (making 84.7 percent) reported “cash for vote” as the main form of inducement,” the report stated.
“Although inducements were rampant, 81.20 percent observers reported that no action was taken by security personnel present at polling units.
“In terms of presence of security officials at polling units during elections, 99.4 percent observers recorded the presence of 867 security personnel out of which 41 percent were police, 21.8 percent
NSCDC, 8.6 percent Road Safety Corps, 5.6 percent Immigration, 5.0 percent Military, 4.7 percent Department of State Security (DSS), 3.3 percent NDLEA and 3.7 percent as others.”
This corroborates reports by The ICIR about the issue of vote buying before and during the Ekiti elections.
PWAN recommended that “INEC, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and political parties should conduct adequate voter education, including information on electoral offences particularly in relation to vote buying and different forms of inducements and the relative penalties for such offences.”
The group also urged the Attorney General of the Federation to “be proactive by prosecuting electoral offenders to forestall future offences and impunity by politicians, electorate and all involved in the electoral process.”