• Decries widespread vote-buying
• Seeks creation of Election Offices Commission
Pro-Democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), has rated INEC’s conduct of the October 10, 2020 Ondo State Governorship Election as an improvement on what was achieved in Edo State. CDD handed down its verdict in Abuja at the presentation of its final observation report on the key processes and outcome of the election. Presenting the centre’s report, Head, CDD Election Analysis Centre, Professor Adele Jinadu and Director, Idayat Hassan, called for tougher action to deal with vote-buying, violence and fake news, which they noted combined to undermine the sanctity of the vote.
CDD warned that notwithstanding INEC’s steady efforts to improve logistics and management of elections, there remained dark clouds, which would continue to undermine the credibility of the electoral process. CDD therefore recommended that the only way to avert a relapse back to the era of flawed elections is to implement a raft of reforms in the electoral process.
Jinadu said; “The Ondo State election was remarkable for its widely-acclaimed peaceful conduct, the issues-based focus of the engagement of the election process by citizens, and the improved and self-confident administration and conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), notably the generally efficient and timely deployment of election personnel and materials that enabled the substantially hitch-free commencement of the elections and voting process, even in the difficult to access riverine areas of the state.
“These dimensions of the election in Ondo State are noteworthy when set against the background of the typical hostile environment of competitive party and electoral politics in the country, characterised, as it is, by intra-party fissures and acrimonious inter-party disputes that are both capable of degenerating into violent conflicts before and on election day.
“As the October election in Ondo State, as indeed the earlier one in Edo State in September 19, 2020, makes clear, there remains a great deal of improvement to carry out in the management and conduct of elections in the country, while the structural and cultural anchors of competitive party and electoral politics in the country is hugely problematic and more aggressively addressed through the nurture of civic-minded citizens determined to defend the electoral process and act as permanent guardrails against democratic reversals.”
The centred noted that another positive aspect of the election is the upload of polling unit results via the INEC Result Viewing Platform. CDD said a bigger percentage of result upload also enabled stakeholders to track the progress of result and project the outcome of the election before the final declaration.
It further noted, “In the case of the Ondo election, as in the case of Edo, the results were processed within about seven to eight hours of the close of polls. CDD recommends that, going forward, INEC should continue to enhance not only the results management process, but also the electoral process in general. Towards this end, it will be important to begin focusing on the need for the replacement or upgrade of equipment such as the SCRs, or, indeed looking for better, multifunctional equipment that can encompass the entire process from the registration of new voters through to the processing of results.”
In a related development, a retired army general and Jagunmolu of Ikaleland, Prince Olu Bajowa, has felicitated with the winner of the October 10, 2020 governorship election in Ondo State, Governor OluwaRotimi Akeredolu, saying it is a well-deserved victory. Bajowa, in a statement made available to The Guardian yesterday in Akure, described Akeredolu’s victory as “a testimony of the confidence and trust which the electorate reposed in you, based on your performance during your first term in office.
“It is the hope of all and sundry in Ondo State that you will replicate with further improvements on your antecedents, particularly in your promise for the exploration and exploitation of bitumen and the development of the deep seaport at the Southern Senatorial District of the state.
He listed the expectations of the people to include “the reactivation of the moribund oil palm industry at Okitipupa and Oluwa Glass industry at Igbokoda in order to bring dividends of democracy to the people at the grassroots of the Southern Senatorial District and make life more abundant for the people of the catchment areas.”