An Election Observer Group, Election Monitor, is asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to pay attention to calls for the cancellation of the just concluded governorship election in Edo State.
The call is on grounds that widespread public outcry signifies dissatisfaction that should not be ignored.
Presenting the group’s election observation report to a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the National coordinator, Abiodun Ajijola, said the election had a high case level of vote buying and over-voting across the polling stations especially in Esako Local Government Area.
He says such acts give credence to such expressions of dissatisfaction.
Mr Ajijola also noted that while the election could be said to have been conducted effectively with regards to operation and conduct, the group observed unacceptable delay in collation of results which the electoral commission ought to address.
It is the second observer group that is dismissing claims by the electoral body that the election was free and fair.
The group claimed that the election was far from being free, fair and credible.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the acting General Secretary of the organisation, Mrs Mma Odi, said that there was generally no secrecy in voting, as people voted in the full glare of party agents despite the presence of security agents.
But INEC says the governorship election was free and fair, dismissing allegations of bias and compromise by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP had alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the INEC had planned to rig the September 28 election at the collation centre in Benin City.
But an official of the electoral body said the election was conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Electoral Act.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Solomon Soyebi, told Channels Television’s correspondent in Kaduna on Wednesday that the election was not fraught with irregularities, as being alleged by the PDP and its candidate, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
He also debunked claims by the PDP that the commission deliberately delayed result of the election from the 18 Local Government Councils in Edo state in order to favour the ruling APC in the state.
“Checkmated Any Form Of Rigging”
He further explained that INEC deployed an electronic device during the election that tracked the collation of results from the polling units up to the last collation centre.
“These devices checkmated any form of rigging,” he stated.
Mr Soyebi further highlighted that with the peaceful conduct of the Edo election, the commission was determined to improve on the success during the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
INEC has come under criticism by some aggrieved persons since last week Thursday when it announced the results of the election that produced the APC candidate, Godwin Obaseki as governor-elect in Edo State.
Another opposition party in the election APGA had before the announcement of the result called for total cancellation of the election, citing irregularities.
Mr Osaro Onaiwu alleged that financial inducement and intimidation of party loyalists occurred during the poll.
“The election is going to be inconclusive because there is a lot of damage already. There was no election in Ologbo and Oluku and whatever result they are bringing out from these two places, it is not going to be accepted by us,” Mr Onaiwu said.
He is the first candidate in the election that has called for the cancellation of the election that had 19 contestants.
The election is said to have been peaceful, but with cases of ballot snatching reported.
Earlier, a member of the party monitoring the process at a polling unit, Stephen Edema, told Channels Television that the process had been smooth.
The Independent Electoral Commission had said the election was smooth and had progressed as expected.