One of the Edo State governorship election observer groups, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth, and Advancement Africa (YIAGA Africa), has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of failing to meet up with logistic requirements for the election.
A preliminary report by the group showed that “there was late commencement of accreditation and voting and disregard of the COVID-19 protocol requiring physical distancing and mandatory use of facemasks across polling units in the state.”
The group had recently deployed Parallel Vote Tabulation methodology to monitor the credibility of election result during the Edo State governorship election.
Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo who read the report said there were reported incidents of ballot box snatching by party supporters and some issues with smart card readers.
“Observers reported incidents of ballot box snatching by party supporters in Ozolua Grammar School, Polling Unit 009 of Ward 10 in Ikpoba/Okha LGA and Obodeko Amahor Pri/Sch Unit 003 of Ward 8 in Igueben LGA. and electoral officers who appeared overwhelmed by the large turnout of voters.
“Observers reported that there was sporadic shooting leading to the suspension of voting in Idumwongo polling unit 5, ward 7 in Orhionmwon Local Government Area,” Itodo said.
The election observer group also noted cases of vote-buying, violent disruption of the voting process, and interference by party agents. The group also lamented cases of intimidation of electoral observers and the media.
“YIAGA Africa recommends that, as the voting process comes to an end, all ballots are counted openly and all polling units have the Forms EC60E posted at the polling unit for the public.
“Security agencies should caution security officers deployed in the field to refrain from intimidating observers and journalists as the results collation commences. Security personnel must remain professional and non-partisan throughout the election.”
The advocacy group said it is monitoring the whole process including the collation of results and would be compiling its own results to compare with that of the electoral body.