fbpx
Promoting Good Governance.

Osun Decides 2018: NBA says supplementary election far from free and fair

THE Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has released its report of the just concluded Osun State governorship election, providing a detailed narrative of how the supplementary poll which held on Thursday, September 27, was “rigged”.

The NBA, which comprises all legal practitioners in Nigeria, had sent a team of observers to Osun State during the election and the team reported that the rerun exercise “fell far short of a free and fair election”.

Polling units in the bush

Polling unit located in the bush during Osun state governorship rerun election.

According to the NBA report, some of the polling units where the rerun election was held was located inside “deep forests”, several hours drive from town, and there was barely anybody living close to the locations.

“Election in Ife North was conducted in a village called Oyere. It was deep in a forest barely accessible by vehicle and was about two and a half hours from Ile-Ife. There was a strong security presence (The Nigerian Police Force) in and around the polling unit,” the report read in part.

Another polling unit “at Ifon Orolu Kajola was in a farmhouse inside a thick bush and there was only one unoccupied residence with a distance of about 80meters from the said polling unit.”

Sahara reporters had on the day of the rerun polls tweeted a picture of a polling unit located inside a bush, with no voter in sight except for men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Arrest of election observers

The NBA team reported that some of its members were harassed and subsequently arrested by policemen at Orolu, Ward 8, polling units 1 and 4 and ward 9, polling unit 3.

Even when one of them, a former NBA Chairman in Kogi State, showed his identity card, the police commissioner in charged of the area, Ali Janga, still ordered that they should be taken away.

“It took one of our own, Festus Okoye Esq. who is currently the INEC Commissioner representing South-East Geopolitical Zone, to secure their release; he also facilitated the team’s movement to Orolu.”

Voter Harassment while security agents watched

While security agents arrested and harassed accredited election observers and journalists, they looked the other way and allowed thugs to operate unhindered.

The report read: “At about 10:00 am, while figuring out how to get to Idiya Polling Unit in Orolu, four (4) Toyota Hiace buses packed with about fifty (50) fierce-looking men, drove in and the men alighted and walked towards the polling unit without any PVC in their hands.

“In spite of the heavy security presence of the Nigerian Police, these men were not stopped nor asked if they were going to vote neither were they asked for their PVCs. This however aroused our suspicion.

A member of the NBA Ad-hoc EWG who attempted a recording of the happenings (a few seconds was recorded though) was almost attacked by about six (6) of these men. Surprisingly the Police officials stood aloof and did nothing to stop the invasion by this group of men.

“The reason given by the security men (Police officials) for their inaction was that they could not act without formal complaints from us.”

Only identified voters were allowed to vote

The NBA also observed that most of the voters at Orolu had identification bands on their left arms and ring bands on their thumbs.

“Those with the said identification bands were allowed access into Orolu while those without the bands were not allowed access and so could not vote,” the report noted.

“Although these voters without the bands displayed their PVCs to the Policemen on the ground as evidence that they had been registered to vote at that particular polling unit, the Police personnel adamantly turned them back and as such, they could not exercise their right to vote.

“Voters that were allowed to vote without the bands were those who had arrived earlier before the commencement of voting.”

A Twitter user had made the same claim on the day of the rerun election, alleging that some voters had white handkerchiefs held to their left wrists to identify them as supporters of a particular political party.

A supplementary election became necessary after the main election on Saturday, September 22, could not produce a clear winner between the candidates of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ademola Adeleke and Adegboyega Oyetola, respectively.

The supplementary election held in seven polling units across four local government areas in the state and at the end, APC’s Oyetola, who had been trailing behind Adeleke after the first election, was announced the winner of the overall contest.

Comment on this:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.