A pro-democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has rated the conduct and outcome of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State as relatively credible, despite the challenges and infractions, which dogged the process.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja yesterday, CDD director, Idayat Hassan, noted that the election was relatively peaceful when compared to other polls recently conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Hassan also commended a vast array of stakeholders involved in the process, which Ihe Centre praised for working tirelessly to ensure the tense atmosphere in the build-up to the election did not result in violence on a scale, as envisaged.
She also described the general peaceful conduct during the election as a refreshing development.
“It the peaceful conduct points the way away from the degeneration that has historically been the country’s sad experience with electoral outcomes, and towards outcomes that significantly reflect the mandate of the electorate.
“In this respect, the election potentially augurs well for the future of democracy and development in the country, particularly in view of the determination shown by the electorate to protect their mandate and ensure that it counted in the critical penultimate months to the election day,’’ she said.
In addition to the electorate, head, Election Analysis Centre (EAC), Prof. Adele Jinadu, said the credible outcome of the election was due to the activities of various strategic stakeholders, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission, and to the pace-keeping efforts, the Oba of Benin and the Abdulsalam Abubakar led National Peace Committee, who worked and intervened firmly, under a very dire pre-election context that portended violent election conflicts.
‘’Their intervention helped to turn electoral “swords” into “plowshares,” he said.
Speaking on other critical issues in the electoral process, the centre identified the controversial modality used for selecting the governorship candidates of the two major political parties as a major cause of tension during the electioneering.
“The acrimony that resulted from it created serious intra-party fissures that cast an ominous pall over the peaceful conduct of the election. Another process issue was the political culture of a zero-sum approach to the competitive electoral process that tends to precipitate violent electoral conflict and to encourage the abuse of the power of incumbency for partisan party-political advantage.
‘’To improve the conduct and credibility of future elections, CDD handed down a number of recommendations for electoral reforms, which it stressed were necessary to build on the gains of the election; and address some of the problems in the electoral process,’’ he added.