…Process was credible
…Urges PDP, ZLP not to proceed to tribunal
…Winner need to be magnanimous in victory
By Raphael Jov, who was in Ondo
A coalition of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accredited observers have unveiled their report after the official declaration of the Ondo 2020 gubernatorial election held on Saturday, 10th October.
They scored the electoral body very high in the overall conduct of the election.
In a statement made available to News Headquarter correspondent, Dr. Gabriel Nwambu, the Convener and representative of Centre for Credible Leadership & Citizens Awareness in conjunction with Amb. Manukwem Chinyere-Centre for Positive Change & Civic Responsibility said, all over the world, it is necessary to ensure that elections comply with International Best Practice and Globally Accepted Standard in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as Amended, the Electoral Act of 2010 as Amended and the INEC regulations and guide lines.
According to them, it is necessary to emphasize the overall essence of accrediting reputable Civil Society Organizations to observe any election is to assess the degree of compliance of the electoral management body (INEC), the Political Parties as well as their supporters, the law enforcement agencies to the relevant electoral laws as provided by the constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the rule of engagement.
They Coalition also said this essentially is to serve as a parameter for measurement and a term of reference for improvement in future elections. Thus, election observation increases the level of credibility of a well ordered process of power transition in any defined democratic state of the world.
Consequently, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as an electoral body saddled with the constitutional responsibility of conducting credible elections across Nigeria, after a thorough scrutiny accredited 53 reputable Civil Society/Non Governmental Organizations to serve as domestic and 6 International Organizations to serve as foreign election observers for the Ondo State Governorship Election held on the 10th of October, 2020.
The Coalition therefore presented their observations as follows:
“That the Ondo State Governorship Election scheduled by INEC for 10th of October, 2020 actually held across the 3009 polling units of Ondo state.
“That the election commenced in good time contrary to our observation in Edo state where election commenced relatively late due to the delays in the distribution of election materials.
“That we observed pockets of violence in Oke Ijebi Ward 4, unit 11, Ijomu Junction area, very close to St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School Ijomu. But the swift response of the Nigerian police who intervened and took full control of the area restored public confidence on the electorates who were determined to exercise their franchise.
“The introduction of the Zee Park by INEC has increased the credibility and transparency of the process of election since results from the unit level (Form EC8A) is uploaded for all Nigerians to see. Thus, it becomes difficult to alter, change or mutilate results as previously obseobserve.
“The Card Reader performed optimally. However, we observed some cases of malfunctioned Card Readers but the backup and support serviced as provided by INEC were quick to restore normalcy by providing alternative machine.
“The issue of vote buying continue to resurface and has remained malignant in our electoral system. This largely could be attributed to the myopic understanding (Psych) of the average electorate, poverty, etc. In Ondo state, all the participating political parties are equally guilty. It boils down to the case of which party bought more than the other. This reoccurring decimal requires our collective effort as Nigerians the right the wrong.
“That the increase number of the brail ballot guard increased the participation of the visually impaired voter. This is significant in the Ondo state Governorship election.
The rest of their report said:
“From the ongoing, it becomes evident that the Ondo state Governorship election which held on the 10th of October, 2020 complied significantly with the provisions of the relevant electoral laws of Nigeria.
“We, as INEC Accredited Observer Organizations hereby state categorically clear that this election was transparent, free, fair and credible.
“By this medium we thank INEC, the security agencies for living up to the responsibility of conducting credible election in Nigeria and providing a level playing ground for all participating political parties.
“Consequently, we would like to encourage the PDP and the ZLP candidates to exhibit the spirit of sportsmanship by congratulating the winner and APC candidate as politics is not a do or die affair and again shun the idea of challenging his victory in tribunal or any court of law. Every election should not end in the tribunal. They should therefore emulate Prince Ize Iyamu of Edo state. Similarly, the winner should also be magnanimous in victory. That is the hallmark of every responsible democracy”, Nwambu maintained.