Following INEC’s declaration of 2018 Osun Governorship Election as inconclusive, the commission conducted rerun elections on Thursday 27 September 2018 in 7 polling units where election was cancelled on Saturday 22 September 2018. YIAGA AFRICA Watching the Vote deployed 13 stationary observers to all 7 polling units in the 4 LGAs where the supplementary election held. By 7:30 am, all thirteen (13) Watching The Vote observers deployed to the seven (7) polling units were present and ready to observe.
This preliminary report highlights Watching The Vote findings on the: arrival of polling officials and election materials at the polling unit, set-up of polling units, voting and accreditation, presence of security and party agents and also, critical incidents observed. The is the first report on the process of the re-run election.
Watching The Vote Preliminary Findings:
Opening and Setup of Polling Units
- As at 8:00 am, Watching The Vote observers reported that INEC officials had arrived at all 7 polling units.
- By 9:00 am accreditation and voting commenced in all 7 polling units observed.
- On the average, polling units had 4 polling officials present.
- Card readers were observed in all the 7 of polling units. All essential materials (register of voters, indelible ink-marker pen, polling official stamp, voting cubicle, ink pad, Form EC.8A Statement of Results and Form EC.40H Voter Information) were present in all the 7 polling units as well.
- APC party agents were seen in all the 7 polling units, PDP at 4 polling units, and SDP at 3 of polling units at set-up. An average of 5 party agents were seen at the polling units at set-up.
Accreditation and Voting
- The card reader was used throughout the day in all 7 polling units. In PU 002, Alapata Village, Ward 10 Oyere II, in Ife North LGA, the card malfunction but it was replaced.
- In all 7 polling units every potential voter’s Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and finger print was checked by the card reader.
- In all 7 polling units every potential voter’s PVC was checked against the register of voters. No one was accredited to vote who did not have a PVC in all the 7 polling units.
- 6 of the 7 polling units were set up to ensure so that no one could see how voters marked their ballot papers. However, in PU 004 Idi Iya Village, Ward 8 Olofun Orolu H, Orolu LGA, it was possible to see how a voter ballot paper was marked when it was put in the ballot box.
- In all 7 polling units, indelible ink was applied to the cuticle of a finger of every accredited voter.
- During accreditation and voting, no polling unit had voters crowding the polling officials.
- In 2 polling units, accreditation and voting ended by the designated time of 2:00pm, in 4 polling units accreditation and voting ended between 2:00pm and 3:00pm and in 1 polling unit accreditation and voting ended between 3:00pm and 4:00pm.
Counting, Signing and Posting of Results
Watching The Vote observers were only allowed to observe the counting process in 6 of the 7 polling units. The party agents of the All Progressive Congress (APC) did not allow WTV observers observe the process of counting in PU 001 Kajola Village, Ward 8, Olofun Orolu H in Orolu LGA.
- An average of 6 party agents were observed in the polling units during counting.
- In the 6 polling units where the WTV observers observed counting and posting of results, polling officials showed how every ballot paper was marked to everyone present.
- In the 6 polling units observed, an APC polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A).
- In 4 of the 6 polling units observed, a PDP polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A). PDP agents were not present in the remaining two polling units.
- In 4 of the 6 polling units observed, an SDP polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A). SDP agents were not present in the remaining two polling units.
- No party agent asked for recount of the ballot papers in any of the 6 polling units observed.
- Official results were posted using the form EC60E for the public to see in all the 6 polling units observed.
Watching The Vote observers reported critical incidents that undermine integrity of the rerun election. These verified incidents include;
- Violence, Harassment and Intimidation in Ward 8, Kajola Village, PU 001 Orolu LGA: a. The agents and representatives of the All Progressive Congress (APC) worked with political thugs to attack and beat up supporters of People’s Democratic Party (PDP). They also blocked PDP supporters and voters from accessing the polling unit. b. Political thugs also prevented WTV observers from observing the election. The observers could only gain access to polling unit when foreign observers arrived with a security contingent. At the close of polls, observers were prevented from witnessing counting and the posting of results in this location. c. Political thugs also deprived media practitioners from accessing and using of phones at the polling unit. This was however resolved by noon.
- Vote Buying: a. In PU 002, Alapata Village, Oyere – II Ward 10, APC party agents were seen distributing cash and food to prospective voters within the vicinity of the polling unit. b. In PU 004 Idi Iya, Olofun Orolu Ward 8, APC party agents distributed cash to voters and security agents in a location not more than 100 yards from the polling units.
Concerns and recommendations
- YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote expresses concerns with the security agencies deployed for the elections. Intimidation of voters and observers happened in the full glare of security officials who remained aloof while political thugs undertook untoward their mission. This raises questions on the integrity and neutrality of the security officials in the rerun elections.
- YIAGA AFRICA calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure timely release of election results. We emphasize the need for INEC to uphold the principles of integrity and transparency in the collation and announcement of the results. INEC should investigate the critical incident highlighted in this statement as those incidents may have undermined the credibility of the elections.
- YIAGA AFRICA calls on INEC to make public the data from the E-Collation and E-Transmission of results from the polling units at the polling unit level and in a timely manner.
- YIAGA AFRICA urges contesting political parties to call on their supporters to remain calm and where parties may feel aggrieved with the outcome of the election, such party should seek legal redress through the official channels.
- YIAGA calls on the Security Agents to remain alert, vigilant and neutral during this period and to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of electoral violence especially those who prevented voters, observers and media practitioners from accessing some of the polling units.
Watching The Vote is observing the results collation process and would issue another statement on the results once INEC announces its official results.
Long live Osun state, long live Nigeria.
Dr. Aisha .L. Abdullahi
Co-Chair, Watching The Vote Osun Election Observation Mission
Co-Chair, Watching The Vote Osun Election Observation Mission
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