STATEMENT ON THE SEPTEMBER 22, 2018 OSUN STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION
As part of its mandate to engage electoral democracy in Nigeria, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) observed the SupplementaryGovernorship Elections which took place on the 27th of September, 2018. TMG deployed observers across the seven (7) polling units across thefour-local government councils, namely Orolu, Ife North, Ife South and Osogbo where elections where cancelled and a rerun ordered by INEC.In the four-local governments, there were 3,498 registered voters, 2,637 number of PVC collected, while number of PVC not yet collected were861 as at the time of the elections. The elections were cancelled for the following reasons amongst others; disruptions of the elections byhoodlums, hijacking of materials, presiding officers absconding and other forms of irregularities.
TMG deployed observers including supervisors and roving observers across all the 7 PUs. TMG observed Election Day processes, theconduct of election managers as well as key issues that could inform key learning for engaging future elections in the country.
TMG’s observation effort is intended to help promote credible elections in Nigeria that are conducted in accordance with international and regional standards as well as the laws of ourcountry by providing real time independent non–partisan information on the conduct of all stakeholders on Election Day processes – setup of polling units, accreditation of voters, votingand counting.
TMG Observations are as follows:
- INEC PROCSSES
The observers reported that INEC officials arrived early in most of the polling units across the four local governments and in all the Units thepolling officials conducted themselves professionally and were able to handle complaints and issues arising from the voting process effectively,this could be an indication of proper training of the polling officials and a good understanding of the processes. Persons with disability (PWDs),the aged and pregnant women were given priority in the voting process even though the location of the polling stations still posed challenges ofaccess for these groups especially for PWDs.
One major concern is the protection of the secrecy of voting; TMG is of the opinion that INEC needs to devise a more effective strategy that willfurther protect the secrecy of the votes. We observed that most of the voting cubicles were situated in the open, making it possible for persons,other than the voter to view voters’ preferences. While it wasn’t observed that INEC officials were in anyway complicit in the act, thereconfiguration/rearrangement of polling stations, the voting cubicle and the ballot box will help a long way to stem this brazen practice asearlier observed in past elections.
B. Violence, Arrests, Intimidations and Harassments
TMG observers reported several incidences of intimidation and harassment of voters. In Orolu Local Government in particular, some observersand journalists were arrested and detained by some security agents, while some other observers were prevented from accessing the pollingunits, by some hoodlums. By these acts, we observed that sizeable number of voters were therefore prevented from performing their civicduties particularly in Kajola, Orolu Local Government, Oyere and Osi in Ife South Local Government. Our observations also show that severalparty agents were prevented from observing the process. There were also sporadic gunshots in some locations in Osogbo and Ife.
Furthermore, TMG observers report also show that some PVCs were found with people who were not the owners and who had tried to usesame to vote. Particularly in Osi, we got report that INEC officials actually intercepted and seized 3 of such impersonated `PVCs.
C. Massive Deployment of security agencies and personnel
The TMG is concerned with the massive deployment of security agencies and personnel during this election, the country should be workingtowards a less policed electoral process. This is even more worrisome considering the level of reported incidence of violence, harassment andintimidation from security agencies during this particular election.
As a group that has been involved in the electoral process since the return