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Ekiti Election Falls Below World Standard – Observers |The Republican News

Ekiti-election-2018

“The July election 14 was full of human rights violations, political party agents arrest, disruption of polls leading to the cancellation of polls results… It scared some voters away and is a clear case of violation of humans rights which disenfranchised voters as those who voted were either induced or forced to vote a certain party and made the poll to fall short of global standards.” – Yemisi Ige, Patriotic Women Foundation

Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti

A coalition of domestic and international election observers accredited to observe the July 14 governorship poll in Ekiti State have declared that the exercise fell below global standards.

The observers addressed newsmen at Pathfinders Hotel in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, yesterday, where they insisted that last Saturday’s governorship election, which produced DR. Kayode Fayemi, of the All Progressive Congress (APC) as governor-elect, falls short of global best practices and electoral standards as a result of lapses in the way a section of the large deployment of security agents conducted themselves, among other electoral related challenges.

The observers comprised representatives from over 50 domestic organisations, human rights groups and international election observing bodies, some of which are Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, (Nigeria), Justice and Equity Organisation, (Nigeria), International Republican Institute (South Africa), and Patriotic Women Foundation, (Abuja) as well as the other bodies from the European Union, among others.

They praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the proper conduct of the poll, in line with global and constitutional dictates and standards, but faulted the deployment of 30,000 security agents, insisting that such development and conduct of some of the security operatives largely marred the electoral process.

They insisted that the unwholesome practice of voting-buying tagged ‘see and buy’ in local parlance, where voters surreptitiously showed which party they voted for to party agents who would then ‘settle them,’ ballot box snatching, sporadic shootings and sending away of some party agents as well as intimidation, oppression and forceful influence of electorates’ free will, among others, were among anomalies which characterised the poll.

The observers concluded that the July 14 poll cannot be recommended as a template for the forthcoming 2019 general election as it falls short of global standards and spells doom for the nation if the lapses noted are not addressed and a re-orientation, across the board, is put in place.

Addressing newsmen on behalf of domestic observers, Gabriel Nwambu, (PhD), of the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, Abuja, said: “Modern democracy guarantees the freedom of the electorate to determine who to vote. Anything against this is a usurpation. Polls should also comply with globally accepted standards hence, the observers’ job is to access the level of compliance of the electoral umpire to constitutional regulations which serve as a way to give direction for future exercise.

“Reports of observers remain a potential tool for election tribunals and other monitoring and relevant bodies for post-election activities.

“Fifty-one reputable domestic observer groups were on the ground in all the 177 wards, 16 Local Government Areas and all the polling units in the state, to monitor the poll.

“Ekiti has a record of being a serial politically volatile state in Nigeria and this became manifest before during and after the poll.

“On July 14, domestic observers witnessed large turnout of the electorate from 6:30am, earlier than the stipulated 8:00am. The exercise witnessed a high level of unprecedented electoral related challenges and as such, abuse will remain contentious until justice prevails, especially in the areas of cash inducement, arrests of political stalwarts by security agents and snatching of electoral materials by political thugs among other abuses.”

The observer cited some units and wards in Aramoko, Ekiti West Local Government Area and Efon Alaaye, Erungbua settlement, Efon Local Government Area where there were large numbers of accredited voters. He added that while many electorates, including pregnant women, Persons Living with Disabilities and aged people trooped out to vote, card readers were slow, while voting-buying and cash inducement held sway.

“Finger biometric capture was slow. Party stewards were indicating to voters were to thumbprint. The poll was delayed due to the slow pace of machines.

“Party agents had huge cash and were close to voting points. Security agents were indifferent to cash inducement of voters.

“The whole process falls short of the compliance with international best standards.”

Speaking in the same vein, one of the International observers, Mrs Virginia Marumoa-Gae, of the International Republican Institute (IRIS) in South Africa, noted that accreditation and voting began simultaneously as early as 6:00am, with large numbers of voters who arrived earlier than scheduled 8:00am.

She said trouble began at 11:00am when “see and buy” started and this caused chaos across all the wards and polling units.

Citing several anomalies in the poll, she said: “Voters showed their ballot papers to party agents to collect money; thugs disrupted the voting process by shooting, but the police and other attaching security agents did well by establishing their presence at the polling units as stipulated by the constitution. We also noted that the INEC has improved on card readers this time,” she submitted

Continuing, Marumoa-Gae, said Ekiti people largely conducted themselves in a peaceful way but noted that, in other areas, there were vote-buying, use of illiterate as party agents, psychologically conditioning of the electorate that election is do or die and proper education of participants should be addressed ahead of the 2019 poll to avoid democratic disaster.

Also, Mrs Yemisi Ige, of the Patriotic Women Foundation, a human rights organisation based in Abuja, noted that while INEC did its best within the framework of electoral regulations, conspicuous lapses in security caused many of the anomalies that greeted the poll.

She said: “The July 14 election was full of human rights violations, political party agents arrest, disruption of polls leading to cancellation of polls results,” and added that the deployment of 30, 000 policemen was unwarranted as “it scared some voters away and is a clear case of violation of humans rights which disenfranchised voters as those who voted were either induced or forced to vote a certain party and made the poll to fall short of global standards.”  (The Sun)

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Ekiti Guber: British High Commissioner Says Process Peaceful So Far |RN

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British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright

Oluseye Ojo, Isan-Ekiti
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright, has said the conduct of the governorship election in Ekiti State has been peaceful so far.

In an interview with journalists at Ogilolo in Isan-Ekiti, he also said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was well prepared for the exercise, adding that the security agencies also composed themselves very well.

Arkwright, who is a member of the international observers, monitoring the election stated: “We have been to about five units so far. From the polling units that I have visited, they were peaceful. The system seems to be working. They opened on time from what I have seen.

“As observers, we are taking note and we will report back to INEC at the end of the day, giving our reports. We are neutral international observers, watching the process of trying to ensure that the exercise is free, fair, credible and indeed peaceful. So, let us see how it goes. We are very pleased to be able to be here.”

Arkwright also described the ongoing election as a precursor to the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, saying: “This election is an important milestone on the road to 2019. In Ekiti itself, it is important for the process to be free, fair, credible and indeed peaceful. We have looked around, and the most important thing is that people were able to express their own opinions to vote freely as they wished to vote, and not to be intimidated or induced in any way, to vote according to their conscience for what they think is best for them, for their families and for their communities.

“The International Bureau for the British Government is not supporting one candidate, we are not supporting one party. But we are supporting the process.”

Fielding questions on his assessment of INEC’s preparation for the poll, Arkwright said: “From what I saw, INEC prepared very well for the election. I spoke to the INEC Chairman in Abuja 10 days ago and he said the commission was well prepared. I spoke to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) yesterday, and as far as I can see, the sensitive materials were sent to the polling units in time. From what I can see, things seem to be working well.

“We are not just staying in one particular area, there are British International Observers in every part of the state. When we combine together this evening, we will be comparing notes.”

Arkwright also assessed the conduct of security agencies in the places he had visited so far, saying: “From what I can see, the security agencies are doing their job. I can see the police standing by to ensure peace. In my experience and with what I have seen, this is a snapshot of the election. I will get the whole picture when I am back to the state capital and compare notes with my colleagues.”       (The Sun)

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