The Centre for Transparency and Advocacy (CTA) an election observer and monitoring group deployed to monitor the Ekiti governorship election has commended the peaceful conduct of the elections, saying their was great improvement in the conduct and performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Addressing journalists on its preliminary report of the election, the CTA executive director, Dr Chima Amadi, however, condemned the widespread cases of vote buying by politicians and their agents.
Chima said contrary to earlier fears that the election would be marred with violence, the process was peaceful. He commended the electorates and security agencies for their professionalism
He said, “Contrary to widespread fears that the massive deployment of security personnel will scare away voters from polling booths, the turnout was generally massive.
“We note with satisfaction, that there was a tremendous improvement in the performance of INEC. Such innovations as simultaneous accreditation and voting, tracking of movement of materials and electronic transmission of results to the collation centres have improved election management as was clearly shown in this election. Although, there were reports of dysfunctional card readers, INEC made prompt effort to address these hitches.
On issue of voters buying, he said, “This election more than ever before was characterized by brazen and scandalously high level of vote buying and selling by agents of political parties and voters. This development more than other cast serious slur on the credibility of the elections. We call on INEC and the security agencies to think seriously about measures to address this malignant problem of our electoral process.”
Speaking on the performance of security agents, Chima said from observers’ report, security agents drawn from the police and other security agencies perform creditably well.
He explained that cases of harassment and intimidation were minimal, saying the only area of concern was the inability and or failure of security agents to arrest people openly buying and selling votes.
The CTA director expressed sadness that although the election was generally peaceful, vote buying seems to have become the new sore point in elections in Nigeria starting from Edo, Anambra and now Ekiti.
He said, “While we commend INEC for the incremental improvement in the management of elections in Nigeria, we hope that INEC and security authorities will take step to prevent in subsequent elections especially the 2019 elections.”