A Civil Society Organisation, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has described the Saturday Ondo State gubernatorial election as well executed.
In a preliminary report made to LEADERSHIP on Sunday, it states that lapses observed did not significantly affect the outcome of the election.
The report signed by TMG Chairperson, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, stated that “Our preliminary assessment of the Ondo State gubernatorial election of November 26, 2016 is in respect of the laid down procedure by the electoral act 2010 as amended. In line with the provisions of the electoral 2010 as amended, our preliminary opinion is that the election was generally peaceful, orderly, well-organised, and well-conducted”
She said, “The report was based on the observations that voters turned out in large numbers at almost all polling units observed, security was adequate, and in most places provided the confidence that most voters required to come out to vote, the voting process began sufficiently early at most polling units and proceeded with few disruptions and the counting of votes and declaration of results proceeded peacefully and witnessed no significant disruption among others”
The TMG However, observed that several of the old challenges and malpractices that had featured in elections since 1999 were again present in this election, these includes the late arrival of election officials and materials at few polling units, resulting in the late commencement of the various phases of the election process, contributing to voters’ apprehension, difficulties in the accreditation of some registered voters due to malfunctioning of smart card readers and dislocation of polling units, allegations of buying of votes and other attempts to unduly influence voters, attempts to disrupt voting process by unidentified persons and political party agents in some places as well as Interactions with Security agents showing that issues of their welfare still remained a major concern.
The TMG notes that in moving Nigerian political system forward, there is a need to review our electoral processes to address democratic issues within political parties, TMG also calls for a review of the winners take all approach in our polity which has become a bane for heated political existence. We propose a more robust political space that can support proportional representation, independent candidature and allow more political freedom amongst members of political parties. We therefore call the new Ken Nnamani led Electoral Reform Committee to ensure that some of these issues are addressed.
Akiyode-Afolabi also congratulated the people of Ondo State, INEC, law Enforcement Agencies, Local and International observers and media for a successful election”
“We also congratulate the winner of the Ondo 2016 Gubernatorial Election as announced by INEC and urge him to ensure that he takes positive steps to unite the State and ensure good governance and accountability in the state”
The activist urged that “if there is any discontent from the process or outcome of the elections, recourse should be made to legal and legitimate redress mechanism without any recourse to violence or self help
It is to be recalled that prior to the Ondo Elections, which held on the 26th of November 2016, Ondo State was heated up due to the conflicts amongst and within political parties generated as a result of lack of internal democracy in some of the major political parties in the State. Some of these resulted in court cases and other internal political parties administrative or arbitration processes.