Lessons from Ekiti and Osun for INEC to Correct in 2019 General Elections

Lessons from Ekiti and Osun for INEC to Correct in 2019 General Elections

By S. O. Adedokun

Ise-Orun  is a local government area in Ekiti State having a population of rural dwellers, houses – both old and new, with a palace located at a T-junction, between Erinwa I and Odo-Ise I and II, with other places. This is ward 4 in that local government. Creamed with a loud uncontrollable accent of the Ekiti tongue among the youths, they appeared related and cooperative, but very few among them didn’t know who to vote for.

The July 14, 2018 gubernatorial election which ushered Governor Kayode Fayemi commenced in this state with sensitive materials deployed to different RAC centres, and at every polling unit, there were different times of arrival of polling officers. Some polling officers arrived early but names were not posted before electorate arrived. Most of the voters came to check their names and went back to come later, while some waited, did their verification and expressed their voting franchise. It wasn’t surprising that we saw some police officers armed with weapons, but we knew it is wrong for officers to take such along. Only baton is allowed for a police officer. Meanwhile, this generated reactions until after the murmur was calmed with an intervention they were around for a different duty.

There is a place called Odo-Ise II at Ward 4, two police officers came around with teargas can, as reported by Premium Times. These officers reportedly made a comment that it would not be wise to heed to every advice. Any untoward event might happen that would demand for the use of such weapons. Although, no event called for their use, but such can scare a voter away, and should be taken care of. Unfortunately, because of the rural faculty the dwellers had, they didn’t know the different between a perfume can and the other, so, there was no fear near the danger.

Several reports were pushed out that were unbelievable, especially the report of snatched ballot box at a local government, to the extent that many hauled abuses on the on-the-go media reporters, who had reported the truth in their vicinity.

Osun state election was also an unforgettable one, held on September 22, 2018, which ushered in the administration of the Governor Oyetola. Ede South was where I observed, which had a naive Supervisory Polling Officer who didn’t address issues with clarity and his approach was detested by others – both observers, voters and polling officers. This Supervisor, who was to take care of 10 wards was at every polling unit told to control his nerve.

These are some reasons INEC should take time to educate these officers. The kind of heart that should be employed to perform these functions is a calm, swift, timely and protocol-embracing one which does not deny the warnings and principles of elections despite the demands of the surrounding masses. Apart from the official rules set by INEC, polling officers should be reminded that election mistakes start from them, and they are the first to be corrupted by nefarious politicians or ballot box snatchers. They should take this duty as if their lives are tied to it. They are the first security of a four-year term and they shouldn’t allow any form of political incredulity.

At Ise-Orun  in July, election results started popping in before the end of elections. Election was to end by 2pm, but before 12pm, some people were jubilating for what has not substantiated. Statuses were filled with updates of results being released at every polling unit, people at Ise-Orun  thought they were slow. The result was to project the People’s Democratic Party candidate, Dr. Olusola, as the winner of the election, but elections had not ended. Hence, counting couldn’t have started at all. This news took the atmosphere that this party, the PDP, after the announcement of Kayode Fayemi of APC as the winner by INEC, went to court, saying its party (PDP) had the original result. This is part of the problem of political agents, but all in all, it was fake news. And to divert a bit, some agents would be at the voting points to generate knotty problems: some of them are fake, and the security officials do not observe this. The registration of political agents has not be well-structured in order to avoid multiple agents using one identity. This is why some people suddenly appear at the spot and disappear after some minutes, but would have transferred the same identity to another person. These people create fake news.

Fake news creates a long term damage, it can kill the high spirit of trust in the media, it can suffer the genuineness of reality, it can throw the masses into the dark. These and other issues should be managed properly before the next election.

  • pinit_fg_en_rect_gray_20 Lessons from Ekiti and Osun for INEC to Correct in 2019 General Elections

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