As the people of Ondo State await the outcome of the keenly contested governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies have been advised on the way forward.
The non-profit organisation, Yiaga Africa gave its suggestion in preliminary recommendations after voting in the Ondo election ended on Saturday.
The Chairman of the group’s board, Dr Abdu Hussaini, as well as the co-chairmen of Yiaga Africa ‘Watching The Vote’ (WTV) for the poll, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi and Ezenwa Nwagu, and the group’s executive director, Samson Itodo, jointly addressed a press conference in Akure, the state capital.
They urged INEC to ensure that the ballots were counted openly and that the Forms EC60E were posted at respective polling units.
Yiaga also asked the electoral umpire to upload the polling unit result sheets on its viewing portal, as well as post information on polling units where elections did not hold or results were cancelled.
“We urge INEC to ensure transparency and openness in the management of cancellation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws.
“Uniformity of processes and consistency in applying its guidelines should be maintained across all polling units and LGAs,” the group said.
According to them, there is a need to ensure strict compliance with the application of the election guidelines in the result collation process.
Similarly, the group asked the security agencies to ensure their personnel remains professional and non-partisan throughout the election.
They also called for effective security as a collation of results commences while accredited observers and journalists should be granted access to observe the process.
On finding from the election, Yiaga, however, decried the disruption of the voting process and stuffing of ballot box in some areas.
They decried that political thugs stormed an open space polling unit at Idale-Logbosere Ward in Idanre Local Government Area with dangerous weapons, forcing voters to run for safety while the hoodlums allegedly thumb-printed ballot papers and stuff them into the ballot box.
The group also noted the case, which was reported by Channels Television, involving a young man who was stabbed at Ijomu Ward 4 in Akure.
They added that there were reports of voting buying from Akure South, Ose, Ondo West, Ilaje, and Akure North LGAs.
Yiaga, however, commended INEC for the substantial level of compliance with the protocol on voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the photos below is a full communique put out by Yiaga Africa as regards the way forward for all players in the electoral exercise.
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