POST ELECTION PRESS RELEASE
OSUN STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS SEPTEMBER 22ND 2018 CENTRE FOR TRANSPARENCY ADVOCACY SITUATION ROOM PRELIMINARY REPORT OF ELECTION OBSERVATION
The Osun Governorship election presented the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with another opportunityto show to the Nigerian people its readiness to conduct a credible, free and fair election in 2019. INEC was also expected to put into practice lessons learnt from the recent Ekiti state gubernatorial election and steps it has taken to address some of the issues that the election threw up.
Transparency Advocacy (CTA) trained and deployed accredited120 independent observers.The following is our preliminary report based on findings from our field observers:
Time of arrival of INEC Officials and materials
INEC for the first time deployed men and materials to various polling booths before 8 am. The 100 % deployment achievement by INEC is as a a remarkable improvement in Election management. This time, INEC officials and materials were waiting for voters unlike in time past when the reverse was the case. This drastically addressed the logistics challenges in the Osun governorship election as accreditation and voting started in good time.
Time of arrival of Security Agents
Security men arrived early just as materials and ensured adequate security and orderliness. Most Polling Units had at least 3 policemen and two other security personnel from the Civil Defence, Immigration, Federal Road Safety Corps and Nigerian Custom Service.
Time of commencement of accreditation and voting
Accreditation and voting started simultaneously between 8 and 8:30 am in most polling units as INEC achieved 100 % deployment as at 8am.
Voter turnout was impressive. This was noted in both the urban, semi urban and rural areas. There was crave to vote by both the young people and the elderly including people with disability as noted in Gbogan. It is important to note also that there was a large turnout of women including pregnant women and nursing mothers at various polling units visited. The election was largely peaceful.
Performance/Conduct of INEC Officials
We note with satisfaction the overall improvement of INEC in the Osun Governorship Election by being proactive and innovative. As said earlier, deployment was timely and staff were professional in the discharge of their duties. For the first time in Nigeria, INEC introduced the use of tactile ballot for the visually impaired voters to enable the blind vote unaided. INEC also introduced the use of magnifying glasses to assist the visually impaired and those with cases of albinism. This promotes inclusion and for every bonafide voter to have a say in the election of his or her candidate of choice. Equally, INEC introduced an electronic App that citizens can download from Apple store and report issues directly from the field for immediate action by INEC.
Performance/Conduct of Security Agencies
The security agents have continued to discharge their duties professionally. There were no reports of harassment of citizens or election observers. It is on record that the police arrested a fake election supervisor when he was reported by CTA roving field observers in Ife area.
However, of a serious concern was the heavy policing of some polling units in Orolu LGA and the heavy presence of the Military in certain parts of the state including between Orolu and Gbogan.
Conduct of Political Parties/Voters (Vote buying and vote selling)
While cases of vote buying and selling was not as brazen as was the experience during the Ekiti gubernatorial election, our observers noted that Politicians and voters have evolved different clandestine means of vote buying and selling. Party agents continue to entice voters and strategically monitor voters and the thumb printed ballot papers. The efforts at eradicating vote buying and selling will have to keep up with the evolving new methods of voter enticement in order for vote buying to be effectively addressed.
Logistics arrangements/Welfare of Security Personnel
Allowances of security agents were paid to them before now and there has been no complains to this effect.
We thank the people of Osun State for their peaceful conduct and pray that Nigerians will replicate it during the 2019 General Elections. We commend INEC and security agencies for applying professionalism in their operations during the election.
Dr. Chima Amadi