By Aderele Ijelu
A broad coalition of election observer groups, the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, has condemned the outcome of the governorship rerun election in Osun state, pointing out certain activities that question the validity of the process.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the coalition listed the active use of thugs and violence to intimidate voters and influence the outcome of the poll.
See full statement below:
STATEMENT BY THE NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM REGARDING INEC’S RERUN ELECTION IN OSUN STATE
Issued: 7:00 pm, Thursday, 27th September 2018
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room observed the rerun election conducted by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in seven polling units of Osun State on Thursday, 27th September 2018.
Situation Room received reports of the early arrival of materials and INEC officials in most of the polling units where the rerun elections were conducted. It was difficult to confirm in Orolu LGA how the voting process started, as media and election observers were denied access during the early part of the day. Reports from Orolu LGA indicated incidents of intimidation, harassment and arrest of election observers. Observers and media persons who attempted to enter the LGA were stopped during most of the morning hours, and until intervention by INEC.
1. The election was heavily policed with police and other security personnel, including the Army, overwhelmingly deployed across the seven polling units of the election, in a manner that created heavy tension and apprehension among voters. There were also reports of political thugs and hoodlums being used to intimidate voters, with the security forces standing by and failing to act.
2. Observers also reported incidences of violence and gunshots around some of the polling units and attacks against opposing political sides, with supporters of a particular party being prevented from voting.
3. In a polling unit, the Smart Card Reader did not verify some PVCs and yet ballot papers were issued and votes allowed to be cast.
4. There were reports of agents with large sums of money apprehended around the polling units and alleged fake observers.
From Situation Room’s observations, it is clear that the circumstances that led to the cancellation of the elections in the seven polling units where the elections were re-run, including violence, also repeated themselves in most of this election, raising questions on why results obtained under these conditions should now stand.
Situation Room is further concerned that the entirety of the Osun State re-run election derogates from the recent gains made in our elections process and the confidence that was beginning to be built. The lapses in the Osun State re-run elections has put a serious question mark on the electoral process and raises concerns about the forthcoming 2019 Nigeria general elections.