Civil Society Group Faults Credibility Of Edo Governorship Elections

Edo-Elections-ACEThe Alliance for Credible Elections, (ACE), a civil society organisation, has expressed its dissatisfaction with the conduct of the September 28 governorship election which took place in Edo state.

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.

Mrs Odi, while presenting the report of the observation of the election by the Alliance for Democracy, added that there was a form of subtle intimidation of voters aided by open sale of votes for cash.

The group also criticised the delay in the collation of votes which commenced late in the evening despite elections being concluded by 2:00 p.m. local time in most of the polling units across the state.

Smooth Elections

The concerns pointed out by the General Secretary of the group, however, contradict initial comments by several observers who stated that the polls went on smoothly.

INEC National Commissioner, Mrs Amina Zakari, had said that the electoral process went on as expected while INEC officials and security agents worked professionally to ensure it was hitch free.

Furthermore, a poll on the performance of INEC in the election initiated by Channels Television on Twitter had over 5,000 Twitter users participating.

Thirty per cent of the people rated INEC’S performance in the election as excellent while another 30 per cent said it was fair.

Twenty-six per cent rated it poor and another 14% were indifferent.

The election finally came to a close with INEC announcing Godwin Obaseki as the governor-elect of Edo state to take over from Governor Adams Oshiomhole who has ruled the state for nearly eight-year.

After the result was announced, however, aggrieved members of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) alleged inducement of voters and collaboration of INEC and the state government to doctor the results in favour of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The PDP has said it would go to Tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election, but the APC denied inducing voters and said the PDP was a bad loser.

Violence Free 2015 Is Possible – Maitama Sule

Election ViolenceElder statesman, Dr. Maitama Sule on Thursday expressed optimism that a violence-free general election in Nigeria is possible, noting that youth involvement will play a pivotal role in achieving such.

Deadly election-related and communal violence which occurred in northern Nigeria following the April 2011 presidential election left more than 800 people dead. The victims were killed in three days of rioting in 12 northern states.

Dr. Sule, who made the appeal at a lecture in Abuja on Thursday, said engaging the youths as thugs undermines the essence of democracy, advising the youths to shun thuggery in the forthcoming 2015 general elections.

He also appealed to youths to avoid activities that would incite violence, but should rather channel their energies into profitable ventures.

Although series of elections have come and gone, the effects of violence that emanated from them, leading to loss of lives and destruction of properties, linger on.

However, with barely three months to the 2015 general elections, Nigerians have begun lending their voices to the call for a free, fair and credible elections.