More commendations have continued to trail the conduct of Edo governorship election with some Election Monitoring Groups describing the exercise as peaceful, free and fair. This is contrary to analysts’ prediction that the election could be marred by widespread violence. Though there were isolated cases of violence during the election, the election was largely peaceful.
More commendations have continued to trail the conduct of Edo governorship election with some Election Monitoring Groups describing the exercise as peaceful, free and fair.
This is contrary to analysts’ prediction that the election could be marred by widespread violence. Though there were isolated cases of violence during the election, the election was largely peaceful. The monitoring groups commended the people of Edo for their conduct during and after the election.
The Executive Director, Kimpact Development Initiative, Bukola Idowu explained that his organization in a ‘Nigeria Electoral Violence Report’ earlier conducted, had identified 17 out of the 18 Local Government Areas as flashpoints where violence could breakout during the elections.
According to Idowu ,“in our research, Igueben LGA is the only LGA that was not highlighted for violence or potential violence.”
However, in the NEVR’s situation room, “a total of 118 election incidences were reported and documented. Out of the election incidences reported 71 of the incidences were non-election/ potential for violence cases while 47 of them bordered on violence and potential for violence, ranging from murder, attempted murder, physical assault, harassment, intimidation of voters, late commencement of elections in some PUs, vote-buying, to the conduct of security agencies at all levels.
There were two cases of reported death in Orhionwon and Esan South East Local government areas. There was also a case of attempted murder of one of KDI’s monitors who was said to be mistaken for an INEC official in Esan South East. There was also a case of intimidation, arrest and detention of a KDI’s legitimately accredited observer by men of the Police Force in Irrua, Esan central local government.
Idowu also said that post-election analysis showed that the perpetrators of the reported incidences were party agents/supporters, who were involved mostly in vote-buying and disruption of polls. He said some unnamed security agents perpetrated the intimidation and harassment of the citizens and INEC officials.
Despite these pockets of violence recorded in some parts of the state, the election was generally peaceful. According to him, “the election can be said to be free and fair in the recent history of elections conducted by the INEC in Nigeria. For the most part, the electoral officers and election materials arrived timely at the polling units, although there were still a few gaps in this regard, and improvement is desirable.
“The security agencies also deserve commendation as they conducted themselves fairly, compared to past elections in Nigeria where security personnel were accused of being partial, leading the political thugs in the disruption of polls.
“Also worthy of commendation are the electorates themselves who were resilient enough to ensure their votes count,” he explained.
On its part, Yiaga Africa, noted that the Edo governorship election is an improvement on Kogi and Bayelsa 2019 governorship elections and recommended that INEC take all necessary steps to address challenges seen in the election before the Ondo state governorship election on October 10 2020.
Yiaga Africa believed that the intervention of the Oba of Benin before the election contributed to the reduced rate of violence.
The group in its post-election report commended and appreciated the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty Oba Ewuare II and the National Peace Committee (NPC) for responding to the call by stakeholders on the threat of violence as indicated in Yiaga Africa Pre-election observation reports and pre-election assessment by several organizations.
“The interventions contributed in no small measure to the peaceful conduct of the election.” Yiaga Africa, therefore, called on the National Assembly in Nigeria to swiftly legalise the electronic transmission of results from polling units.
It stated that the National Assembly should accelerate reforms to the electoral act to legalize electronic transmission of results as the INEC results viewing portal deployed for the election has demonstrated how citizens’ access to polling unit results increases the integrity of the electoral process and encourages acceptability of electoral outcomes.
The Inclusive Friends Association, a disabled peoples’ organization also reported that, “against all fears and speculations of violence, every polling units had the presence of security officials who also conducted themselves very professionally thereby providing confidence for persons with disabilities, PWDs in casting their votes.”