By Lubem Gena
A group of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accredited observers under the auspices of Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness have commended the conduct of the just concluded Ekiti state governorship polls.
Director General of the Centre, Dr. Gabriel Nwambu while addressing journalists re-emphasize that on the 18th of June, 2022, the people of Ekiti state exercised their franchise to determine the candidate of the 16 political parties to saddle the affairs of the state for the next four years.
According to him, this was essentially to elect a replacement for his Excellency, Dr. Koyade Fayemi whose administration would come to an end in the next few months having served for the maximum of 8 years.
During the exercise, he said, INEC accredited reputable Civil Society and Non Governmental Organizations as observer groups essentially to observe the degree of compliance of the electoral management body, the political parties as well as their supporters to the relevant electoral laws.
Ekiti state is one of the States with off season election and is classified as a volatile state because of the persistent violence observed in past elections in the state.
He said the Centre observed that:
”This election has its own peculiarities, firstly, this is the first time the BVAS Technology would be deployed in an Ekiti state elections. Secondly, this is the first election in Nigeria where the Electoral Act 2022 As Amended would be deployed in full force. Electronic uploading and transmission of votes, backed by law with viewing portals real time was deployed in the election.
”Now, the rights of the electorates is said to be violated if the processes of power transition does not conform with the relevant provisions of the electoral laws governing the process of the said election.
”749,065 voters out of 988,923 registered voters collected their PVCs in Ekiti state. Election was conducted in 2,445 Polling Units, 177 Wards across 16 Local Government Areas”.
The rest of the text of his address state as follows:
“That elections actually held across the 2,445 Polling Units of Ekiti state.
“That we observed the distribution of sensitive materials from the INEC State office in Ado Ekiti to the LGAs, then to the RAC centres and then to the polling units.
“That election commenced between 8.00-8.30am across the state.
“That the BVAS Technology as introduced by INEC functioned optimally in 94% of areas visited. Malfunctioning of the BVAS Technology was observed in 6% of the state and INEC was prompt in replacing then with election continuing almost immediately.
“We observed that there were pockets of vote buying especially in Ado and Oyeh. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were on ground and the operetives arrested some persons allegedly believed to be buying votes in one of the locations. Now, this is not enough fact to prove that the entire process was marred by vote buying as this was observed in pockets of polling units visited.
The performance of the BVAS Technology improved significantly from what was observed in Anambra state Governorship election.
“That the Centre observed a significant reduction in the snatching of ballot boxes. This could be largely attributed to the latest amendments of the electoral act 2022.
“The deployment of about 17,000 officers and men of the Nigerian Police and 9,000 members of the NSCDC and other security agencies no doubt aided in the reduction of electoral related violence. However, security agents has been alleged to be complaisant in vote buying.
The Centre maintained that it arrived at the following conclusions:
“The Ekiti state Governorship election has come and gone, it should be noted as observed that this election is one of the most transparent elections in the history of Nigeria for which the processes was consistent with the relevant electoral laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore, we can unequivocally state that the election was free, transparent and intandem with the law. The APC candidate who emerged winner of the election having polled 187,057 against his closest rival the SDP candidate who scored 82,211 voters. While the PDP candidate scored 67,457 votes.
“Consequently, we advice those who lost i in this election to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship by congratulating the APC candidate who won the election.
“By this medium we hereby commend YIAGA AFRICA and Channels Television for the collaboration in enhancing the viewing portals of INEC for the wider reach of all Nigerians online and real time.INEC is here commended for initiating the latest amendments in the electoral act and the introduction of the BVAS Technology backed by law which has made the electorates vote count.This has increased the populace believe and trust in our electoral system”.