Chris Steven, Abuja
The Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) says Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo state showed significant improvement from previous elections and commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as well as security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the poll.
The group which deployed 79 observers and election monitors to the election said there were improvements in timely arrivals of election materials to polling units as well as timely response to issues related to smart card readers breakdown.
According to a statement signed by ISDMG Director, Mobilization and Public Communication/ Team Leader, Faith Nwadishi, the group described the elections as generally peaceful, adding that voters turn out was hugely impressive.
She however raised concern over reported cases of vote buying during the poll, saying it remains an issue in elections in Nigeria.
Nwadishi said reports from field observers across polling units in the state indicated that early arrival of voting materials and personnel was the norm, adding that accreditation and voting started simultaneously about 8:30 am in most polling units.
She also expressed concern over time of collation which she said remains a nutty issue that has defied remedy.
“We observe that five hours after elections ended in the various wards, collation is still ongoing in some wards, which will still have to proceed to local governments before reaching the state collation Centre. However, we must state that the collation process is transparent and is being done openly to the delight of all stakeholders” she said
Nwadishi called for improved collaborations between security agencies and election monitoring groups.
“Since the success of elections is dependent on strong collaborations between various actors, particularly the security agencies and the EMB, We strongly urge the hierarchy of the security agencies to take very seriously the welfare of its personnel that are deployed for elections , this is to prevent them from being induced by desperate politicians.
“Over all, today’s election and its conduct has raised a very high bar for the conduct of subsequent elections and admittedly and arguably, represents a greatly improved process from previous elections. We hope that and politicians will play step up to the plate and assume their historic roles in the conduct of free and fair elections in our country. We reject instances where politicians unnecessarily heat up the polity by raising undue alarm which usually creates panic and tension among electorates.
“We hope that part of the much needed reforms of the electoral process will include the institution of a reprimand process that deters undue and reprehensible heating up of the polity either through actions or rhetoric.” She added