The election has come and gone. Like a football final match, the conqueror continually relishes his victory while the vanquished, depending on mood wallows in the blame game.
International observers who monitored Edo State governorship election have expressed reservations about the conduct of the poll. The reservations include: entry denial into the central collation centre, security lapses and monetary inducement.
One of the reliable eagle eyes that monitored the Edo election is the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) with a strength of 100 citizen observers deployed to monitor elections.
In its gateway role, TMG identifies various lapses with in the election, not leaving out sustainable solution for future polls.
TMG observers reported complaints about allegations of inducement of voters by political parties on the basis of ‘vote for cash/cash for vote’ to influence who they voted for.
Other moderate ones incidents included intimidation and harassment, flying of campaigning/campaign materials at polling units.
In all, the election was successful and it provided the voters with a meaningful opportunity to exercise their rights to vote, and that in spite of the few reported incidents of intimidation, violence, and voter inducement, these incidents do not significantly undermine the integrity of the accreditation, voting and counting processes.
With the Ondo election coming up, Osun in 2018 and the 2019 general elections, TMG left no stone unturned in proffering best solutions to the problem of Edo election.
TMG makes the following recommendations:
– INEC should ensure that similar tempo is sustained in other subsequent elections as observed in the just concluded Edo election by ensuring early training and retraining of personnel as well as early deployment of personnel and materials respectively.
– Prompt communication of changes in plan by INEC should be considered very important in order to forestall wastage of resources and unnecessary voter apathy.
– The security agencies should judiciously engage all forums and channels of communication with the INEC and other electoral stakeholders to prevent unnecessary overlaps with the mandate of the INEC.
– Political Parties should place more emphasis on a more innovative and decent ways of canvassing votes ahead of elections rather than embarking on cash inducement of voters as experienced in a pocket of polling units during the election.
– TMG decries the alarming rate of voided votes which is becoming a recurring decimal in Nigeria election. There is need for election stakeholders, CSOs, political and INEC to take the issue of voter education serious as we approach Ondo and other future elections.
TMG also calls for an all-round electoral reform, especially the need for creation of Electoral Offences Commission.
TMG is Nigeria’s premier citizen observer group with a coalition of over 400 civil society organizations based in all 36 states and the FCT. The group observed the transition from military rule to the return to democratic rule in 1999 and all subsequent national and state elections after.