A MID-DAY situation report on the 2022 Osun State governorship election has revealed incidences of non-functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
The report was produced by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) and some civil society organisations.
“Some of these incidences were reported in PU 013 Ward 10 Egbedore LGA, PU 006 Ward 04, Iwo LGA, PU 002 Ward 07, and1 Oke Adan LGA, just to name a few,” the report said.
Apart from the incidences of limited and non-functionality of the BVAS machine, the report noted that some voters with physical disability did not have adequate assistance.
“In Polling Units 1 and 2 of Ward 3 and 4 of Atakumosa, voters using walking sticks could not access critical areas of the facility because of high ramps and stairs.”
The report advised that more attention should be paid to Persons with Disabilities to fulfil the duty foisted on INEC by section 54 of the Electoral Act of 2022.
According to the report, by 7:30 am, CJID observers reported that INEC officials had arrived at over 70 per cent of the polling units.
It, however, observed that the early arrival of INEC officials and election materials did not translate to the timely opening of polling units.
“At mid-day, only 40 per cent of the Polling Units (PUs) observed started on time, while 58.9 per cent of the PUs opened late,” the report said.
According to the report, priority voting was given to elderly voters, pregnant women, the sick and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in LGAs observed, in line with Section 25 of the INEC guideline for priority voting.
The report, however, noted incidences of vote trading reported in PU 010, Ward 03, Ife East, PU 01, Ward 04, and Iwo LGA as party agents were seen taking down the names of voters who had agreed to sell their votes for a particular amount.
According to the report, further cases of voted trading were reported in PU 02, Ward 06, Iwokan LGA, PU 003, Ward 03, Ife South LGA, and PU 003, Ward 07, and Ife North LGA as voters were openly offering to sell their votes.
The CJID also received reports of missing names of registered voters on the BVAS. These voters were prevented from voting despite having their permanent voters’ cards.
The report further noted pockets of violence in some polling units arising from malfunctioning BVAS and complaints of slow voting process.
Other reported incidences of violence resulting from thuggery were observed at PU 002, Ward 07 in Orolu LGA, and PU 005, Ward 05, Iwo LGA, where some suspected thugs clashed with security agents.
The report also noted low adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines.
“We implore everyone to observe the COVID-19 protocols as the safety of citizens is a foremost concern. In exercising your franchise, we want to remind you that it is better to be safe than sorry.”
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.