Wole Balogun, Ado–Ekiti
A coalition of local and international election observers accredited to observe the July 14 governorship poll in Ekiti State , just addressed newsmen at the Pathfinders Hotel in Ado Ekiti, state capital and discredited the poll with their reports, insisting that last Saturday poll falls short of global best practices and electoral standards as a result of lapses in the way a section of the large deployment of security agents conducted themselves.
The observers, who comprised of representatives from over 50 domestic organisations, human rights groups and international election observing bodies of which are Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, (Nigeria), Justice and Equity Organisation, (Nigeria), International Republican Institute (South Africa), and Patriotic Women Foundation, as well as the European Unions among others.
The observers who praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for proper conduct of the poll in line with global and constitutional dictates and standards, however faulted the deployment of 30,000 security agents insisting that the development and conduct of some of the security operatives largely marred the electoral process.
They insisted that such unwholesome practices of voting buying tagged ‘see and buy’ in local parlance, where voters surreptitiously showed which party they voted to party agents who went behind to settle them, ballot box snatching, sporadic shootings and driving away of some party agents as well as intimidation, oppression and forceful influence of electorates: free will were among the anomalies that characterized the poll.
The observers therefore hold that the July 14 poll cannot be recommended as a template for the forthcoming 2019 general elections as it falls short of global standards and spells doom for the nation if the lapses noted were not addressed and a reorientation exercise across board is put in place.