Edo Poll: Confusion As Observers Give Opposite Reports

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Local and international observers that were accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission to monitor the September 19 governorship election in Edo State on Monday gave divergent views on the coverage of the exercise.

Info Daily had earlier reported that Civil Society Domestic Election Observers adjudged the conduct of the election as free, fair, credible, and transparent.

However, Different observer groups have given their experiences on the exercise.

Group under the aegis of Intercontinental Leadership Initiative faulted the integrity of the Saturday’s exercise.

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However, in its interim report on Sunday, Nigeria Bar Association Observers, Benin branch, said there was a substantial improvement in the deployment of Card Readers as most of the device functioned in their optimal capacity in most of the polling units.

On its part, Stafford Bisong, the Country Head of Intercontinental Leadership Initiative, raised integrity issues about the election.

Mr Bisong, who said he had his officials spread across the 18 Local Government Area of Edo during the election, claimed that most of the card readers used for the poll were not functional.

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He also said the non-display of voters’ register at the polling units five days before the election was contrary to the provision of the Electoral Act.

The observer said another finding by the organisation was the late arrival of sensitive and none materials in about 80 per cent of polling units, especially in Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha, and Egor LGAs.

“We discovered a lot of discrepancies on the field during the election and we concluded that there is more to desire in our electoral voting procedure. Both sensitive and none sensitive materials relatively late in 80 percent of the polling units, prominent in Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha, and Egor.

“Voting commenced around 1.30pm in some parts of these polling units. Another one is the issue of the voters’ register. The register was pasted just less than 24 hours to the election and this made it difficult for many to exercise before the poll.

“We again discovered that the voter’s register was not updated, as a result, this made it impossible for many not to participate in the exercise. Some of these people may have relocated, some, some died while the Covid-19 pandemic may have kept many away.

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“Finally, none functional card readers as noticed across the State led to the issue of multiple voting in parts of the polling units. About 80 per cent of these card readers malfunctioned as they were not authenticating fingerprints of the voters which led to manual use of authentication” Mr Bisong said.

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