Monday, 20 June 2022

Civil Society Coalitions Release Report On Ekiti Guber Poll


 

SECOND INTERIM STATEMENT BY THE NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM ON EKITI STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION 2022


Issued: In Ado-Ekiti at 7:00am, Sunday, 19th June 2022


The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) observed the Ekiti State Governorship election held on Saturday, 18th June 2022 and received field reports from its observers and network partners.


In addition to our earlier Statements on the election, Situation Room makes the following observation on the field reports and analysis:


General: The election was generally peaceful, with voters playing a key part in the peaceful election environment. The Situation Room commends voters for their comportment at the various polling centres.


Situation Room notes that INEC’s strategy of voters’ redistribution failed to address the problem of over concentration of voters in some polling units. A glaring example was the situation at Surajudeen School, Ado Dallimore (Ward 9), Ado Ekiti LGA, which had about five thousand registered voters shared between just two polling units. Some of the voters complained that their request for transfer of registration to their preferred polling units was not approved before this exercise. Several of the polling units were sited in private residences and compounds in Ekiti State contrary to claims by INEC that the Commission had moved polling units to public spaces during its “Expansion of Voters Access to Polling Units Exercise” in 2021. We hope that INEC will properly address this lingering issue going into the 2023 General Elections.


Logistics and Commencement of Poll: Situation Room notes an appreciable improvement in INEC’s logistics and election administration, especially with the early arrival of election officials and materials at the polling units, leading to early opening of polls. This is a welcome improvement from what was observed in both the Anambra State Governorship Election 2021 and FCT Area Councils Elections 2022.


Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS): Our observations indicate the BVAS was functional in at least 76% of the voting locations. However, there have been many reports of delays and malfunctioning BVAS machines in some voting units especially those with many registered voters. Examples of the locations where the machines malfunctioned are PU 002 Igbaletere by Mechanic Workshop, Ward 6 Ado Okeyinmi, Ado-Ekiti LGA where the Machine was going on and off intermittently, PU 007 LA Primary School Oke Afin, Otun Ward III and PU018 Igogo Ward II both in Moba LGA where the BVAS failed, and PU 014, Ward I Okemesi, Ekiti West LGA, amongst others.


Also, reports from field observers indicate that it takes at least 3 minutes to accredit a voter using the BVAS in 41% of the locations observed. Going by this, the BVAS would have successfully accredited 20 voters per hour on the average in the affected voting locations. Consequently, INEC will need to double its effort to improve on the turnaround time of the BVAS of one minute per voter for a seamless process on election day. Furthermore, INEC’s distribution of the BVAS devices was not proportionate to the population of registered voters by polling unit.


Priority Voting: Situation Room notes that poll officials gave priority to PWD voters, elderly persons and pregnant women in most of the polling units observed. However, citizens refused to recognise people with albinism as persons with disabilities (PWDs), thereby failed to accord them special consideration at the polling units while voting cubicles were not easily accessible to other PWDs. Assistive materials such as braille guides and magnifying glasses for PWD voters were scarcely available. Where available, such as in PU 008 Open Space in front of Government Special School for the Blind, Oke Osun, Ikere Ekiti, they were in standard quality and the Presiding officer deployed them effectively.


Vote Buying: Situation Room observed that the issue of vote buying, and selling has continued unabatedly. This follows a familiar pattern of similar incidences across the country, and in particular, the 2014 Governorship election in Ekiti State. The description of this phenomenon as “Stomach Infrastructure” in the 2014 election has evolved into a new nomenclature now described as “See and Buy”. The ability of Ekiti politicians to make light of such a grave violation of extant law is most unfortunate. Situation Room strongly condemns this blatant violation of the electoral law.


Presence and Conduct of Security Officials:  Security officials deployed for the election were diverse and cut across the Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), etc. Situation Room notes that security officials arrived the polling units on time and were civil in their conduct. However, the widespread presence of the Security personnel did not deter vote trading. Situation Room condemns the several videos that were shared on social media of young voters displaying the money collected for their votes. Situation Room commends EFCC for the arrests of suspected persons involved in votes buying and hopes that these cases will lead to prosecution if the evidence is found to be germane.


Electronic Transmission of polling unit results to INEC Results’ Viewing Portal (IReV Portal):  Situation Room observed that INEC’s IReV portal went live on time, with 45% of the polling unit results already uploaded as at 5:00pm on election day. By 9:00pm, the upload was at 98% with results from 10 of the 16 LGAs fully uploaded. This is a marked improvement from the FCT Area Councils’ Elections in February 2022.


Collation of Results: Reports from Situation Room observers reveal that sorting and counting of votes at the polling units went well. The collation process commenced peacefully towards the evening on the election-day and extended into the night.



Conclusion: We commend the people of Ekiti State for their peaceful conduct throughout the voting process. The turnout of voters was also very good and at an average of almost 50% when compared to the number of PVCs collected. We call on the people of Ekiti State to continue to collect the remaining PVCs before the General Elections in 2023. Situation Room hopes that lessons would be drawn from this process to improve future elections in Nigeria.


 

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SIGNED:

Ene Obi

Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room


Asma’u Joda

Co-Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room


James Ugochukwu

Co-Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room


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