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Stakeholders differ on credibility of guber election

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The Returning Officer of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali (left), the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje and National Commissioner, Dr. Aminat Zakari, at the commission’s headquarters in Akure…yesterday PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

The Returning Officer of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Abdul-Ganiyu Ambali (left), the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje and National Commissioner, Dr. Aminat Zakari, at the commission’s headquarters<br />in Akure…yesterday PHOTO: NAJEEM RAHEEM

A coalition of civil society groups, the Nigeria Civil Situation Room, has faulted the credibility of the just-concluded governorship election.

Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election.

The convener of the group, Mr. Clement Nwako, alleged that politicians induced voters before casting their ballots.

He said security agents and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also compromised in the discharge of their duties.

The coalition is made up of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), CLEEN Foundation, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA).

Nwako said: “We received reports that political parties paid voters to induce their support. Incidents of votes buying by political parties have continued to persist in the election. This is a threat to free elections in Nigeria.”

According to him, there were also reports that policemen collected some envelopes containing money to influence their duty.

“There was an incident at Irele Local Council area where an allegedly drunk police officer pulled off his uniform while on duty. This was in disregard to the rules of the police force. In some wards in Idanre Local Council area, the party agents claimed that the money given to policemen was meant for feeding.”

The coalition alleged that as in previous election in the country, there was poor welfare condition of security personnel deployed in the elections.

Nwako said the misconduct of electoral officials could be due to the non-compliance with the minimum standards of welfare for electoral assignment.

He said the coalition also received the reports of technical issues like the malfunctioning of Smart Card Readers (SCR), collation hitches and display of inadequate knowledge by the INEC’s ad-hoc officials.

The coalition, however, lauded the voters for coming out to vote despite the challenges that characterised the poll.

Meanwhile, despite the allegation of unfairness raised against the poll, an Abuja-based group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), has declared that the results reflected the will of the people.

The group’s Executive Director, Mr. Samson Itodo, said their findings showed that there was an improvement in INEC’s performance.

Itodo said it adopted the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) through its Watch The Vote (WTV) campaign, as part of its observation methodology.

He said: “The INEC official results collected by WTV observers came from a representative random sampling of polling units, which made the group to estimate the results of the election.

“Though the group observed some irregularities and shortcomings, such as lack of secrecy in ballot and financial inducement, they were not enough to discredit the process.

The group said the estimate was produced on a margin of error, based on well-established statistical principles.

“Since the official results fell within that margin, it could be said that the results reflected the will of the people,” the group said.

The group, however, urged the commission to take steps to address the challenges seen in polls, particularly the issues of malfunctioning card readers and the secrecy of ballot.


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