Monday, July 23, 2018 5:55 pm
Three Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Monday declared the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti as free, fair and credible, contrary to the claims in some quarters.
The CSOs advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be wary of those it described as “fake election observers” hired to impugn on the integrity of the poll.
The three groups are the New Initiative for Social Development (NISD), Centre for Social Justice, Good Health and Community Development (CENSJHOD) and International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).
They alleged that virtually all parties were involved in vote-buying, adding that this must not vitiate the process.
Addressing a joint news conference in Ado-Ekiti, NISD Executive Director, Abiodun Oyeleye, said the observers who reportedly discredited the poll were being economical with the truth.
Reading from the report of the observers from the three CSOs that monitored the election, Oyeleye commended INEC and security agencies for improved performance.
While admitting that there were no perfect elections anywhere, Oyeleye warned against any attempt “to set Ekiti on fire” with questionable observations to damage the integrity of a credible process.
Oyeleye said: “There were fake observers, we have the video clips of those who call themselves observers.
“We had our observers on the ground; in fact, in NISD alone, we trained 50 observers.
‘‘The report of our observers on the field was that the election was free, fair, credible and it reflected the election wishes of the people of Ekiti State.
“Although there were incidents of vote buying, all parties induced one way or the other.
‘‘Some parties did pre-pay, others did ‘see and buy’, while we had parties that shared electronics before the election.
“The election represented the will of the people of Ekiti State, with the exception of the vote-buying we noticed.
“ Many of those who cast their votes were willing to be bought.
‘‘Some even stayed at the polling units waiting for the highest bidder. And our observation showed that all parties were culpable on this.
“We recommend effective sanctions for political parties who engage in the inducement of voters to curb the ugly menace and this can only happen when the National Assembly reviews the existing laws.’’
FIDA Programmes Officer, Blessing Ajileye, urged the public to discountenance the allegation that security agents and INEC connived and fabricated figures in favour of a political party.
She, however, advised the National Assembly to review the Electoral Act to criminalise vote buying so that such infraction could be curbed in the future.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the election was won by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
INEC’s Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, declared Fayemi as the winner of the election after securing 197,459 votes to defeat his Peoples Democratic Party rival, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, who scored 178,121 votes.