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Ondo State - Centre for Democracy & Development

Preliminary Statement On the Conduct of the Ondo State Governorship Election

By Press Release

CDD ELECTION ANALYSIS CENTRE

Akure, Ondo State, Saturday, 4 pm, October 10, 2020

Today, voters across the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Ondo State went to the polls to elect a Governor. The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) through its dedicated Election Analysis Centre (EAC) has been keeping a close eye on the conduct of the poll and the level of adherence to key processes critical to ensuring a free, fair and credible election. CDD’s efforts through the EAC is to use non-partisan citizen observation of the electoral process to ensure the votes cast reflect the expressed democratic preferences of the electorate in Ondo State. In reaching the initial conclusions in this preliminary statement, CDD collated reports from our trained and accredited nonpartisan observers.

This preliminary statement provides an overview of our initial findings on the conduct of the election, and the extent to which poll officials, voters, and security officials and other stakeholders in the process adhered to crucial processes, extant laws and regulatory guidelines governing the conduct of the poll.

CDD Methodology For The Observation

CDD methodology for the observation of the election is based on the core principles of non-partisan election observation as enshrined in extant national laws, guidelines, and international best practices. The CDD EAC deployment plan is based on a purposive sampling technique. The EAC selected wards and polling units to be observed based on the situational and political contextual analysis of the State. Hence, the choice of wards and PUs to be observed was informed by the following consideration: the number of polling unit in a ward relative to other wards in LGA in both States, history of incidents of electoral violence and widespread electoral malpractice in previous elections particularly 2016 off cycle governorship and the 2019 general elections, cases of pre-election violence, and the Local Government Areas and strongholds of key contestants and political parties. A total of 255 accredited observers are deployed to observe the process.

The Centre, in partnership with media organisations, deployed 30 trained journalists to promptly detect and report fraud and any forms of electoral malfeasance in the election. They also observed accreditation, voting and collation processes at the polling units, ward collation centres and local government collation centres across the 18 LGAs in the State. At the EAC, we shall continue to provide real-time and rigorous analysis of elections in Nigeria.

The EAC is manned seasoned electoral experts, political analyst, disinformation analysts and media experts.

INEC Logistics and Conduct of Process

CDD observed significant improvement in the deployment of election logistics by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).  There was timely arrival of materials, and officials.  Our observers reported the availability of all necessary sensitive and non-sensitive materials, which include forms EC 60B, EC60 (B), EC 30A, hand sanitizers, cubicle boxes, ballot papers, card readers, stamp pads, liquid gum, indelible markers, sealed boxes, Smart Card Readers and other materials across polling units. 

However, the positive effect, of the early arrival of poll officials was seriously affected by the morning rain in several LGAs in the state. The rain occasioned disruption in the voting process, and compromised the secrecy of the vote. This was the case in many LGAs, notably Owo, Ose, Akoko South, and Akure North.  It is heartwarming that in some instances, voters insisted on continuing with the exercise in spite of the rain.  In Ose LGA, despite the heavy rain, voters defied the weather to exercise their franchise. In Ward 5, Polling Unit 07, Akure South LGA, our observers reported that, although no canopies were provided for shelter, party agents and voters remained under the rain, alongside security personnel and INEC officials to keep a close watch of the ballot box.  CDD commends this demonstration of the resilient disposition of voters and their resolve to protect the sanctity of the vote.

The elections also recorded instances where voters, who transferred their registration to a new station, were unable to exercise their franchise because of the transfer.

As the time of reporting CDD had received reports of attacks targeted at INEC staff and personnel. In Akure South LGA, CDD observers reported cases of hoodlums chasing away RAC technicians. If RAC technicians are chased out of the polling units and, as a result, prevented from carrying out their duties, such an action will compromise the credibility of the process of uploading of results unto the INEC Results Viewing Platform. The RAC technicians are also the ones whose role is to maintain Smart Card Readers. Preventing them from doing their duty also creates problems in the area of fixing card readers, which develop fault in the course of the election. These and similar incidents occurred in Ward 05, PU 008, Odigbo LGA, Arogbo II, PU 001, Ward 7, Ese Odo LGA, Ward 06, PU 007, Ward 02 PU 16 in Idanre LGA, and Ward 4 PU 09, 11, 12 and 13, Ilaje LGA.

We implore the security agencies to provide adequate security to INEC and her officials until the final declaration of a winner.

Security Deployment

Our observers reported an average deployment of security agents numbering between 4 to 8 at each polling Unit. They include men and women of the Nigeria Police, Customs Service, Immigration, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps. CDD Observers reported that, although the officers were generally courteous, there were instances when security agents looked away as vote buying occurred in local governments across the state.

 Vote Buying

One positive trend noticed and reported by CDD observers  that in several polling units voters pushed back against vote buying by individuals seeking to induce voters to vote for the preferred candidates of the agents This was documented in Idanre (Ward 3, PU 6; Ward 8, PU 1,2 and 3; and Ward 5 PU 1), where voters generally rebuffed  and rejected the inducement, and declared their  determination to vote for candidates of their choice. The vote-buying attempt was not without some drama: there was a debate over the attempted inducement—some involved in the debate urged voters approached to sell their votes but to vote their should vote their conscience, while others disagreed. In the end, the majority of the voters rejected the money offered and chased the voter buyers away from the Polling Unit. It is noteworthy, according to the report of the CDD observers the offer and the debate over it happened in the presence of security personnel.

At several other polling units, CDD observed a consistent pattern of vote buying, involving vote buyers who used various devices to evade the watch of security officials and election observers. CDD observers documented attempts by political actors to outspend one another by making available large sums disbursed to community leaders for onward distribution to voters. CDD observation showed that whereas in the past the modus operandi was to distribute cash discreetly at points close to the polling unit, the new tactic is to create outposts where voters can go to collect cash after showing evidence that they voted for the preferred candidates of the vote buyers

It was alleged by those the CDD observers spoke with about vote buying  at polling units on Election Day that bulk sums ranging from N150,000 to N600,000 were earmarked for each polling unit across each LGA were handed over to popular figures, especially youth groups to share among voters in their areas.

Another vote buying tactic used was to make electronic cash transfers to the voter after proving he or she voted for the preferred candidate of the vote buyer.  CDD observers reported that party agents largely stayed away from coordinating vote buying. In Ward 11, Polling Unit 021, Akure South LGA, CDD observed that political parties designated someone, who is not a party agent, but appears to be neutral to direct voters to an outpost where cash could be distributed. In several instances, disagreement between vote buyers and sellers resulted in altercation.  CDD observers reported tension at Oke Aro, Polling Unit 6, when the money for the vote buying did not go round, thereby upsetting a voter who had cast his ballot for the buying party. In polling unit 005, Akoko South, observers reported that party agents openly induced voters. CDD observers similarly noted instances where voters on their own displayed their ballots to assure a particular party agent they had cast their ballots for the preferred candidate of the agent.

Disregard for COVID-19 Protocols

Compared to the Edo election, INEC made improved efforts to implement and enforce the COVID 19 protocols.  In some polling units, infrared thermometer, methylated spirit and hand sanitizer were used, as stipulated in INEC protocols for the election.  However the use of 2-tier queue system for accreditation and voting  was not adhered across observed polling units. Some voters used face masks but in general there was complete disregard for COVID 19 protocols.  CDD has reached the conclusion that the blatant disregard for COVID-prevention protocol is a societal problem caused by the belief that the virus was non-existent or not as serious as it is held out to be. 

Electoral Violence and Offences

CDD observers recorded pockets of violence during the election, although the incidents were  widespread enough to undermine the peaceful conduct of the election. For instance, CDD observers reported an outbreak of violence in Ijomu Polling Unit 7 where a voter was attacked with a machete, and badly cut before law enforcement agents arrived at the scene. The bigger problem with respect to this particular incident is that the law enforcement officers did not attempt to fish out, and bring the perpetrators of that particular attack to book. CDD observers reported that the incident created panic and led to many voters fleeing the polling unit, as they believed there would be no security on ground to protect them in the case of attacks by hoodlums. There were also instances of hoodlums defying the ban on vehicular movement to unleash mayhem and intimidate voters. CDD observers also reported cases of party agents canvassing to assist elderly or disabled voters to vote. There were also observer reports detailing attempts to use another voter’s Permanent Voter’s Card, as well as the impersonation of a party agent.

Fake News and Misinformation

In the course of the election, CDD fact checkers monitored cyberspace to counter fake news and other false narratives. A number of fake news were successfully debunked by CDD dedicated team of fact checkers. Misinformation claiming that particular party candidates had withdrawn from the race was common on Election Day. This was not doubt targeted at deceiving the voters who wanted to cast their ballot for the targeted candidates. There was also fake news claiming the death of people at specific polling unit, and further asserting that prominent figures were injured in the alleged attack. CDD successfully fact checked and debunked these claims, and will continue to do so, as voting ends, and the process moves on to result collation.

Idayat Hassan       Prof Adele Jinadu

Director                   Head of CDD EAC

DOWNLOAD STATEMENT HERE

Hoton Dake Nuna Cewa Wassu Matasa Sun Kama Shugabannin Jam’iyyar APC Da Kudade a Owo Hoto Ne Na Bogi!

By Fact Check

Tushen Magana:

Adaidai lokacin da zaben gwama a jahar Ondo ke cigaba da gudana ayau Asabat, 10 ga watan Oktoban shekara ta 2020, wani mutum mai suna , Ifedolapo Osun, (@DolapoOsun1414) ya wallafa wani hoto a shafin san a Twitter inda yace wassau matasa sun damke wassu shugabannin jam’iyyar APC da tarin kudade da yawan su yakai miliyoyin naira.

Hoton ya nuna wassu matasa guda biyu dauke da daurin kudade a tare dasu.

Anyiwa hoton wani jawabi kamar haka: “Asiri ya tonu game da zaben Ondo! Akerelodu da jam’iyyarsa ta APC zasu fadi a Owo saidai kuma wassu matasa yan kishin kasa sun kama shugabannnin jam’iyyar APC da kudade da yawan su yakai miliyoyin naira…”

Gaskiyar Magana:

Binciken da CDD ta aiwatar ya gano cewa hoton da ake yadawa din na karya dan bama a jahar Ondo aka daukeshi ba.

CDD har wayau ta gano cewa kafafen sadarwa na yanar gizo da yawa sunyi anfani da hoton.

Hakanan, rundanar yan sandan Najeriya reshen jahar Niger tayi anfani da  hoton a ranar 2 ga watan Oktoban shekara ta 2020 a shafin ta Facebook.

Har wayau gidan talabijin na AIT ma ya wallafa hoton  a ranar 3 ga watan Oktoban shekara ta 2020 a lokacin da yake labarta cewa rundunar yan sanda ta kama wassu mutane bisa zargin aikata laifuka daban-daban.

Kammalawa:

Hoton da ake yadawa a shafin Twitter cewa wassu matasa sun kama shugabannin jam’iyyar APC da tarin kudade da yawan su yakai miliyoyin naira hoto ne na bogi. Hoton da ake yadawa din ba’a jahar Ondo aka dauke shi ba.

#AgujiYadaLabaranBogi

Kuna iya aikowa CDD labarai ko bayanan da kuke da shakku akansu dan ta tantance muku sahihancin su. Zaku iya turo labaran ta wannan lamba: +2349062910568 ko a shafukan mu na Twitter a @CDDWestAfrica ko @CDDWestAfrica_H

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Shin an Jikkata Uwargidan Gwamnan Jahar Ondo Tare Da Kashe Wassu Mutane Uku Yayin Da Taje Kada Kuri’arta?

By Fact Check

Gaskiyar Magana: Karya Ne!

Tushen Magana:

Wani bidiyo da aka yada a shafin Twitter a ranar Asabat, 10 ga watan Oktoban shekara ta 2020 ya bayyana cewa an raunata uwargida gwamnan jahar Ondo, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu  tare da hallaka wassu mutane uku da safiyar ranar yau lokacin da taje kada kuri’arta a runfar zabe mai lamba 5 a akwati mai lamba 6 dake gundumar Owo.

Bidiyon da aka yada din yana dauke da alamar gidan talabijin na Channels. Labarin da aka yada din ya kuma ce jami’an tsaro sun mamaye mazabar da Betty taje kada kuri’arta.

Tsohon Sanata Dino Melaye da shafin jam’iyyar PDP (@OfficialPDPNig) sun yada wannan bidiyo kodayake tuni wadannan kafafen suka goge wannan bidiyon daga shafukan su.

Gaskiyar Magana:

Tantancewzr da CDD ta aiwatar ta tabbatar da cewa jami’an tsaro basu mamaye mazaba mai lamab 6 a gunduma ta biyar dake karamar hukumar Owo a jahar Ondo ba.

Hakanan ba’a raunata uwargidan gwamnan jahar Ondo wato Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu ba kuma ba’a kashe wassu mutane uku ba kamar yadda wani bidiyo da aka yada a shafin Twitter a ranar Asabat, 10 ga watan Oktoban shekara ta 2020 yayi zargi.

Masu lura da yadda kada kuri’a ke gudana da CDD ta baza a jahar Ondo suna wannan mazaba kuma sun tabbatar da cewa babu wani abu mai kama da haka day a faru.

Karin tantancewa da CDD ta aiwatar ya gano cewa wannan bidiyo da aka yada an dauke shi ne a jahar Delta (a ranar 3 ga Oktoban shekara ta 2018) kuma tashar talabijin ta Channels c eta daukeshi lokacin da ake gudanar da zaben fidda gwani na jam’iyyar PDP.

Taken rubutu da aka yiwa bidiyon tun farko shine: “Zaben Fidda Gwani na Yan Majalisar Tarayya na Jam’iyyar PDP”.

Har wayau masu lura da kada kuri’a na CDD sun nadi bidiyon maid akin gwamnan yayin da take karyata faruwar raunata tad a kashe wassu mutane ukun.

Da take Karin bayani wa yan jarida, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu tace: “wannan shiririta ne da rashin hankali, kuma wannan yana nuna yadda wadannan mutane suka zaqu”.

Betty ta cigaba da cewa: “ina nan cikin walwalar jama’a amma wani yana can yana sauya fasalin wani bidiyo dan ruda mutane”.

Kammalawa:

Bidiyon da ake yadawa cewa an raunata uwargidan gwamna Akeredolu na jahar Ondo tare da kashe wassu mutane uku yayin da taje kada kuri’arta bidiyo ne na karya!

CDD tana jan hankalin mutane da su guji yarda ko amincewa da dukkan labaran da suka ji musamman wadan da suka fito daga kafafen sadarwa marasa tushe na dandalolin sada zumunta na zamani.

Kuna iya aikowa CDD labarai ko bayanan da kuke da shakku akansu dan ta tantance muku sahihancin su. Zaku iya turo labaran ta wannan lamba: +2349062910568 ko a shafukan mu na Twitter a @CDDWestAfrica ko @CDDWestAfrica_H

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Dan Takarar Jam’iyyar ZLP Ajayi Agboola Har Yanzu Yana Takarar Zama Gwamnan Jahar Ondo

By Fact Check

Tushen Magana:

A ranar Asabat 10, ga watan Oktoban shekara ta 2020 masu tantance sahihancin labarai na Cibiyar Bunkasa Demokaradiyya da Cigaba (CDD) sun gano hoton wata takardar sanarwa da akayi zargin ta fito daga dan takarar jam’iyyar Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) a zaben gwamnan jahar Ondo da ake gudanarwa yau, wato Hon. Agboola Ajayi ya janye takararsa.

Gaskiyar Magana:

Labarin da ake yadawa cewa dan takarar gwamna na jam’iyyar Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) ya janye takarar da yakeyi na zama gwamnan jahar Ondo karya ne! hoton takardar da ake yadawa a shafukan sada zumunta na zamani bata fito daga dan takarar ko jam’iyyarsa ba.

Wata sanarwa dad an takarar ya wallafa a shafin san a Twitter mai dauke dasa hannun sakataren yada labarai na jam’iyyar ZLP din, Babatope Okeowo yace wasikar da aka yada cewa dan takarar ya janye batayi dai-dai da takardar da jam’iyyar take anfani da ita kuma bata dauke da saka hannun mai taimaka masa ta fuskar yada labarai.

Okeowo yace takardar da ake yadawa din ta bog ice dan haka mutane suyi watsi da ita.

Kammalawa:

Labarin da ake yadawa cewa dan takarar jam’iyyar Zenith Labour Party Hon. Agboola Ajayi ya janye takararsa karya ne.

CDD tana kira ga jama’a suyi watsi da labarin tare da daina yadashi.

#AgujiYadaLabaranKarya

Kuna iya aikowa CDD labarai ko bayanan da kuke da shakku akansu dan ta tantance muku sahihancin su. Zaku iya turo labaran ta wannan lamba: +2349062910568 ko a shafukan mu na Twitter a @CDDWestAfrica ko @CDDWestAfrica_H

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

FACT-CHECK: Was Ondo State First Lady, Betty Akeredolu Injured In Attack on Polling Unit?

By Fact Check

VERDICT: FALSE

CLAIM:

On Saturday, October 10, 2020, a video trending on Twitter claimed that three people were killed, while Ondo State first lady, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu was injured at Ward 5, Polling Unit 6 in Owo, during the early hours of the governorship election.

The video which had Channels Television logo and details was widely shared on all social media platforms including WhatsApp. It also claimed some aides to the governor had invaded the PU.

The video, which further claimed that the incident took place at the ongoing October 10, 2020 governorship election was shared by the former Senator Dino Melaye, and on the official handle of the Peoples Democratic Party (@OfficialPDPNig).

The video has since been deleted by the handles listed above but has continued to trend online

FACT:

Fact-checks by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) show that Polling Unit 6, Ward 5 in Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State was NOT invaded by some aides to the governor as claimed in the video.

Ondo State first lady Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu was neither injured nor were three people killed as alleged in the video.

Observers from the CDD on Saturday, October 10, 2020, visited the polling unit, where the video claimed the attack happened, and the observers can unequivocally confirm that the claims in the video are false.

A further check by CDD fact-checkers shows that the video was captured in Asaba two-years ago (October 3, 2018) by Channels Television during the Peoples Democratic Party’s Delta State primary election.

The original video headlined, “Delta State PDP House of Reps Primary”, shows the location where the video was captured.

Also, our fact-checkers have a video which captures the Wife of the Governor debunking claim of such an incident.

Speaking to journalists in her PU, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu said: “That is insane, that is absurd and that tells you how desperate these people are.”

“I am here with you in the ambience of my country home and somebody is there doctoring a video.” Betty added.

CONCLUSION

The video circulating online with the claim that Governor Akeredolu’s wife was injured in a polling unit and three people killed is false. CDD urges members of the public to be wary of information from unreliable sources being shared online.

CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity stories before sharing them. You can also forward suspicious messages for verification via WhatsApp to +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

FACT-CHECK: Image of 2 Youths Arrested in Owo with Bundles of Naira is Fake

By Fact Check

CLAIM:

At the peak of the Ondo Governorship election on Saturday, October 10, 2020, a Twitter user, Ifedolapo Osun, (@DolapoOsun1414) posted an image claiming that youths in Owo had arrested some leaders of the All Progressives Congress with cash worth millions of naira.

The image posted by Ifedolapo shows two youths displayed with bundles of cash on the floor.

The tweet was captioned, ‘’ #OndoDecides2020 Exposed! Akeredolu/APC suffers stepback in Owo as vigilant youths arrested APC leaders with cash worth millions of naira…. ‘’

FACT:

Verification by fact-checkers of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) shows that the image is false. This said image posted by the Twitter user was not taken in Ondo State.

The results from reverse image search performed by CDD fact-checkers show that the image had been used by multiple online platforms.

Also, on October 2, 2020, the Niger State Police Command posted the same image on its official Facebook page.

The same image was also used by the AIT on October 3, 2020, in a news report with the headline, ‘’Police arrest 4 suspects for various offences in Niger State’’

CONCLUSION

The image being shared on Twitter with the claim that youths arrested APC leaders with cash worth millions of naira is false. The image is not from Ondo State as claimed by the Twitter user.

CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity stories before sharing them. You can also forward suspicious messages for verification via WhatsApp to +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

FACT-CHECK: ZLP Candidate, Ajayi Agboola, Still on Ondo Governorship Election Race

By Fact Check

CLAIM:  On Saturday, 10, 2020, a trending image reported to be a press release from the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), claim that the governorship candidate of the party, Honourable Agboola Ajayi, has withdrawn from the 2020 Ondo election.

FACT: The trending claim that the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), in the ongoing 2020 Ondo Governor Election has withdrawn from the race is false. The image of a press release claimed to be from the party is false.

A statement posted on the Twitter account of the candidate and signed by Babatope Okeowo, the Chief Press Secretary to the Ajayi said the document on a ZLP letterhead did not emanate from his principal’s office nor any of his media aides.

Adding that the trending document was forged, Okeowo urged the general public to disregard the content.

CONCLUSION

The claim that the candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, Hon. Agboola Ajayi has withdrawn from the election is False.

C

CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity stories before sharing them. You can also forward suspicious messages for verification via WhatsApp to +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

CDD Tasks Stakeholders on Credible Ondo Governorship Poll

By Press Release

  • Commends Citizens Focus On Issues of Governance 
  • Says Less Attacks Show Level of Confidence In INEC, Urges Commission To Reciprocate
  • Tasks Security, Government On Measures To Prevent Vote Buying  

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the Press.

Forty-eight hours to the commencement of voting in the October 10 Governorship election, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) through its dedicated Election Analysis Centre (EAC) continues to collect information from our trained non-partisan observers deployed across the 18 Local Governments Areas of Ondo State. CDD observer reports have provided important perspectives on trends in the pre-election environment leading up to the Governorship poll. From now, through Election Day, and to the post-election period CDD will share updates on issues relating to the credibility of the electoral process, and how to ensure its outcome reflect the will of the people of Ondo State.

It is pertinent to note that CDD observation of the electoral process is a citizen-led, non-partisan effort aimed at ensuring the election measures up to minimum credibility requirements according to global norms and best practices such as: (i) Article 21(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that: everyone has a right to take part in the government of their country, directly or through chosen representatives, and (ii) Article 21(3) of the same declaration which asserts, “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will be expressed in periodic and genuine elections, which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”

 People of Ondo State Yearn for Credible Electoral Process

As observed in the last CDD EAC update on the Ondo State Governorship election, the people in this State have shown a refreshing resolve to focus their debates and conversations around the October 10 governorship election on key governance issues. CDD observation shows that the level of the spread of fake news and misinformation in the Ondo election has been relatively low when compared to recent governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Ondo State. This positive trend is partly so because citizens are busy discussing issues of governance. CDD hopes the people of Ondo State will put those issues in perspective as they go to cast their ballot on October 10.

Preliminary analysis of social media conversations and engagement on facebook groups and pages created by supporters of the candidates shows there is less focus on the spread of fake news. Compared to how social media was used to misinform unsuspecting members of the public in the Kogi, Bayelsa and most recently in the Edo State Governorship election, it is apparent Ondo State is faring better. CDD social media content analysis for the Ondo State governorship election indicates that the major concerns raised by prospective voters in their posts are on the problem of possible violence and the challenge of voter inducement.

In the light of the foregoing, CDD urges voters in Ondo State to continue to frame the election as a contest to be determined on the basis of the of which of the political actors has the best ideas to solve the problems facing citizens. It is in line with global best practice for citizens to take all political contestants to task on how they intend to accomplish the promises they have made on the campaign trail. CDD calls on all political actors in the electoral contest of October 10 to take a cue from the people by focusing their discussion during the remaining part of the campaign on discussing how they will govern.

In line with this, CDD calls on the political parties, and their candidates to refrain from making preemptive statements, allegations and counter allegations, which could stoke partisan tensions and heat up the polity during the rest of the campaign period and on Election Day. The war of words, which the political actors are fond of engaging in adds to value to the quest by citizens for credible elections and by extension, good governance. Such verbal altercations are capable of undermining voter confidence and delegitimizing the outcome of the election. It is therefore important in the spirit of the signed Peace Accord for the politicians to be mindful of what they say and do as voters head to the polls. 

INEC Should Reciprocate Confidence Reposed In It 

Another interesting trend observed by CDD in the Ondo State governorship election is the absence of or reduced level of attacks on the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).  Compared to governorship elections in other states, INEC has been largely spared of denunciations and attacks, which are clearly aimed at undermining the idea of the Commission’s impartiality. Politicians normally resort to the strategy of denouncing INEC so that if they lose the election, they can quickly blame INEC’s alleged compromise as the reason for their loss. In Ondo State, INEC has not had to respond to such vicious potshots aimed at undermining its non-partisan role, and distracting it. CDD believes this to be a sign of the high level of confidence the people of Ondo State have in the Commission. INEC therefore cannot afford to fritter away this level of good will. It has to ensure the confidence reposed in it is properly reciprocated. This it can do by ensuring materials arrive at the polling units on time; INEC should therefore consider the nature of the terrain in some parts of the state, especially the riverine and mountainous nature of some Local Government Areas.

CDD hopes INEC will strategically factor these areas in its deployment plans to ensure there is no late arrival of materials. These factors will have to be considered in the aspect of reverse logistics, especially with respect to collation of results. Given the terrain difficulty in those LGAs, CDD calls on INEC to ensure its results viewing portal is capable of documenting results, especially from areas, which will pose a terrain problem. Subsequently, INEC would have to find ways to mitigate the effect of the largely partisan disposition of transport unions, including the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Motorcyclists Association. The partisan posture of these unions could pose challenges, which may create credibility and logistics problems for the entire process. Incidentally, the NURTW is the body INEC relies on for transportation of electoral materials. This may create a problem for INEC in the area of getting materials to all voting areas in the state. CDD calls on INEC to prepare back up plans just in case there is a system failure in its logistics deployment as a result of the partisan disposition of the transport union. 

On Early Warning Signs of Violence And Need For Strategic Deployment of Security

Since political campaigns began, CDD has been monitoring the electoral terrain to document early warning signs for prevention of violence. Our observers documented an upsurge of political tensions in at least 11 of the 18 local government areas of the State with several reported cases of election-related violence. A trend analysis of data gathered so far indicates that group clashes, attacks on party secretariat and political rallies and campaigns by thugs and party supporters escalated in most LGAs across the State with the highest number of cases reported in Akure South and Idanre LGAs. Of the 34 incidents of electoral violence reported between August and early October 2020, at least 12 cases of clashes during campaigns were reported. Also CDD further calls on the security agencies to monitor movement into Ondo State from other states. CDD observers reported seeing scores of buses entering Akure the Ondo State capital on the night of October 7, 2020. While freedom of movement is a constitutionally guaranteed right, it is up to the security agencies to ensure those coming into the state have no sinister intention with respect to the election. 

While these early warning signs are not definite indicators to give 100 percent certainty that there will be violence in the areas highlighted, they nonetheless call for a strategic deployment of security. CDD is of the view the presence of security in areas with history of election violence will deter elements which would be inclined to resort to violence. CDD observation indicates the security agencies, especially the Police have been making the right statements and commitment on their readiness to play a non-partisan role in the electoral process. We also recognize positive steps taken so far, including innovations to enhance transparency and deter bad behavior among officers on election duties. CDD however calls on the security agencies to brief their officers on their specific roles; we do not expect to see officers who turn a blind eye when electoral offences.

On Welfare of Election Workers

In terms of management of personnel, CDD calls on INEC and the security agencies to make the welfare of election workers and officers of security agencies topmost priority. As the experience from the recently concluded election in Edo State shows, many of the delays in the timely arrival of election materials were caused by arguments over payment of allowances. INEC should use the remaining time to firm up its plans for elections workers, just as we urge security agencies to ensure the welfare of the rank and file is adequately catered for. This will ensure they are prepared for their various assignment. Welfare of police officers and other members of the security forces has to be taken care to ensure they are not susceptible to inducement by desperate politicians who may want to get them to play roles, which would undermine the credibility of the election.

  Conclusion

To conclude CDD must draw attention again and underline the following emerging trends in the politics and administration of the 2020 Ondo governorship elections that should be sustained or addressed to brighten the prospects of competitive party and electoral politics not only in the state but also in Nigeria generally. First, the gratifying focus on issues-based electioneering emerging out of the 2020 Ondo elections is refreshing, noteworthy and encouraged across the country. Secondly, the elections, particularly their issues-based electioneering focus, have given vocal voice to women and the youth who seem determined, despite great odds, to protect their vote and ensure that it counts. Third, the weakness of internal party democracy, reflected in controversies trailing the nomination processes for selecting party governorship candidates, resulting in party fractionalization  and defections, has mixed implications: while it bodes well for more competitive multiparty electoral politics, it also tends to engulf it in violent party and electoral politics. Fourth, INEC’s administration and management of the 2020 Ondo governorship electoral    process, continues to reflect the benefits of its substantial and progressive investment in internal administrative and financial audit and reform and in high technology to sanitize the voter registration and voting process. However, there is still much INEC needs to, and should do to fix and strengthen weak links in its logistic chain for the deployment of personnel and materials for elections, with particular attention given to mitigating fault lines in the role of NURTW in the transportation deployment links, and also in the provisioning for the welfare and timely remuneration of the ad hoc staff and security personnel so deployed. Fifth, there remains the challenging problem of what the civil society organizations and the public generally can and should do to diminish the abuse of the power of incumbency for partisan party and electoral advantage.          

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The Outlook for Ondo: Votes and Violence

By Publication, Publications

Introduction

On the 10 October 2020 the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct the sixth governorship election in Ondo State since the restoration of democracy in 1999.

The state, in Nigeria’s south west geo political zone, is currently held by the All Progressive Congress (APC) and is strategic in protecting the APCs political hegemony in the zone Although 17 parties have registered candidates, only three have a chance of winning the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

The defection of the incumbent deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, from the APC and his subsequent emergence as the governorship candidate of ZLP, raised the stakes in the elections.


This report provides an overview of the political environment leading up to the election Specifically, it analyses the strength of the three major political parties and their candidates by thoroughly examining the history of votes and voting pattern, political alliances, and election related violence
of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). All the three frontline candidates are lawyers by profession.

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How Citizens Demands For Good Governance, Alliances By Transport Unions, And Activities of Militants Shape Ondo Governorship Poll

By Press Release

Abuja

October 5, 2020

  • NURTW Partisanship May Affect INEC Logistics
  • Spotlights Flash Points, Violence Prone Areas
  • Calls For Strategic Deployment of Security To Areas With High Risk of Violence

An Issues-Driven Campaign

As voters in Ondo State make last minute preparations in readiness for the October 10 Governorship election, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has identified a number of positive and negative trends, which it projects could shape the election and the credibility of its outcome. In its pre-election assessment, the CDD through its dedicated Election Analysis Centre (EAC) listed what it described as a groundswell of citizens demands for good governance through specific debates on specific policy issues as one of the encouraging signs in the campaign period. The Centre observed that although the threat of misinformation and disinformation remains potent, especially in the final stretch of the campaign, its observation of the pre-election environment indicated that citizens in Ondo State have largely shown a strong resolve to take political actors, to task on key programmes and policies.

CDD Director, Idayat Hassan lauded the resolve of citizens in Ondo State to make the election a referendum on some of the core governance issues directly affecting their everyday living conditions. She said: “An example of the resolve of citizens to demand answers to the key governance issues they face would be seen in the debates on school fees and the maternal health policy of the government. On the issue of increment in school fees for students in the state-owned higher institution, CDD observers report that many youths are airing their views on social media platforms like Whatsapp.

“From the way they are discussing how the policies have rubbed off on them, it is apparent that they were mobilised to engage the matter as an election issue, which should determine which direction voting should go. The impact of these debates has been in turn affecting policies, with reversals of initial positions by the government. Another instance of the prevalence of governance issues in the election is the debate on the status of the free maternal healthcare programme (Abiye), which was introduced by the administration of Governor Olusegun Mimiko. Citizens have been using the conversation around the election as an entry point to interrogate the incumbent on his administration’s handling of the free maternal care programme (Abiye) introduced by his predecessor.

“It is refreshing to see citizens using the electoral process as a basis to institutionalise democratic accountability. As a matter of fact, CDD projects that role of fake news and misinformation in the Ondo election will be relatively low compared to other states, partly because citizens are busy interrogating core governance issues. CDD hopes citizens will put these governance issues in perspective as they go to cast their ballot on Saturday. CDD believes that if citizens remain focused on these issues as they go out to vote on Election Day, incidents of vote buying will be reduced.”

Transport Unions, Armed Non State Actors Wield Influence on Poll

On the flipside however, CDD warned that the partisan disposition of transport unions, including the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Motorcyclists Association could pose challenges, which may create credibility and logistics problems. CDD observation of the political environment in Ondo State indicates that the NURTW, and the Okada riders’ union will play a major role in the complex web of partisan alliances, which will influence the outcome of the election.

“One of the worrisome realities is that NURTW, one of the major unions is depicted to be a highly partisan association, which tries to use its influence to enforce electoral outcomes. The NURTW played a prominent albeit partisan role in previous elections, and remains on course to do leverage its presence towards the realisation of partisan objectives. The closeness of the union to partisan interests could impact on the credibility of key processes. The leaders of the NURTW in some sense would be fighting for their own survival because the tradition is that every NURTW Leadership leaves with any administration voted out.

“Incidentally, the NURTW is the body INEC relies on for transportation of electoral materials. This may create a problem for INEC in the area of getting materials to all voting areas in the state. Apart from the NURTW, the militants are another group of actors which would wield influence on the poll.

CDD observers report the increase in the activities of armed non-state actors, particularly militants and pirates in riverine areas of the state. These armed groups have a history of making the creek areas ungovernable and have strong links with wider networks of militants in the Niger-Delta. These groups will certainly have their preferred candidate and agenda and will be ready to mobilise the force necessary to make their preferences prevail. Our observers have also reported the influx of arms and armed non state actors in the state.

Flash Points And Risk of Violence

CDD observation of the electoral process has also been picking up early warning signs of violence. The CDD pre-election report notes that the prevailing political situation ahead of the 2020 Ondo governorship election has the potential to escalate in ways that could cause widespread violence.

“Since political campaigns began, CDD has been monitoring news reports to document and analyse the pre-election environment. The Centre observes an upsurge of political tensions in at least 11 of the 18 local government areas of the State with several reported cases of election-related violence. A trend analysis of data gathered so far indicates that group clashes, attacks on party secretariat and political rallies and campaigns by thugs and party supporters escalated in most LGAs across the State with the highest number of cases reported in Akure South and Idanre LGAs. Of the 34 incidents of electoral violence reported between August and early October 2020, at least 12 cases of clashes during campaigns were reported. While these early warning signs are not definite indicators to give 100 percent certainty that there will be violence in the areas highlighted, they nonetheless call for a strategic deployment of security. CDD is of the view the presence of security in areas with history of election violence will deter elements which would be inclined to resort to violence,” the Centre advised.  

Signed:

Idayat Hassan

Director

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Ondo election: CDD, others call on INEC to intensify voters’ education

By Press Release, UncategorizedNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to intensify voters’ education ahead of the October 10, 2020, Ondo governorship election.

The centre during a roundtable meeting organised for Civil Society Organisations in Ondo State on Thursday, August 27, 2020, on the 2020 off-cycle governorship election in Ondo State said voter education is key to getting election process right in a democracy.

Highlighting challenges witnessed in the just concluded Local Government election which are capable of undermining the credibility of the governorship poll, the CSOs described the level of voters’ apathy in the state as the bane of the electoral process.

At the meeting, the CSOs observed that the high level of violence during the LGA election has created a tense environment ahead of the governorship poll.

The CSOs said while the LG elections recorded low voter turnout, poor participation by marginalized groups, as well as the destruction and defacing of campaign billboards in various parts of the state, the polls were characterized by anomalies including the use of thugs to disrupt the electoral process, and use of arms by the party faithful.

In a communique released on Thursday, August 27, the organisations also said that the Ondo LG election further exposed the lopsided structure in Nigeria’s electoral process as security operatives saddled with the responsibility to protect the people were found intimidating the electorates.

“Every participant, stakeholders and political actors came to the poll with different agenda and this majorly led to the spike in violence,” the communique said.

Participants at the meeting noted that most of the polling units there were no result sheets while findings in places like Ifedore showed that election observers we were asked to leave the vicinity and results were fraudulently written in these areas with the supervision of security operatives.

The communique said: “These anomalies hold serious implications for the conduct and outcome of free, fair and credible elections in Ondo State, come October 10.”

“There is a growing fear of stockpiling of arms ahead of the election, there have been cases of rival partisan camps openly displaying arms or engaging in exchange of gunfire just to show that they also have access to firearms – a means of pressing opponents. Most times they do this in the presence of Police officers who serve as aides to the political actors,” the communique added.

Addressing the challenges presented by COVID-19 pandemic, the CSOs observed that the awareness on the policy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on conducting an election amid the outbreak is low.

The organisations warned that: “INEC has failed to actively engage the CSOs on plans for the Ondo election especially with the new guidelines released on the conduct of the election in a COVID-19 pandemic situation.”

It also said that the electoral body has failed to be proactive in engaging the people on the guidelines and conduct of elections amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This gap was very much on display during the recently concluded LGA elections, which witnessed people participating without adherence to laid down guidelines; most voters were not aware of how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect or change the conduct of an election in the off-season election,” the communique read.

Making its recommendations, the CSOs called on INEC to conduct a comprehensive security risk assessment to identify areas with high risks of security challenges, intensify voters’ education to reduce voter apathy, ensure that all sensitive and insensitive materials arrive the polling unit on time and sensitize its own staff while ridding the commission of the bad eggs.

The organisation also called on INEC to take responsibility of ensuring that the welfare of its ad-hoc staff is taking care of, take into consideration, challenges that have been presented due to COVID-19 pandemic especially making greater efforts to protect the elderly people and the vulnerable ones among videos.

Also, all contents – videos, messages, banners, flyers – produced for citizens enlightenment should be translated to Nigeria’s local languages for easy assimilation by the citizenry and the needed support for the people with disability and the aged-people be put in place to allow for equity and balance.

“CSOs must continue to advocate for peaceful, fair, and credible elections. Not just in gatherings as these, we must continually advocate in our homes, churches, market places, irrespective of the timing,” the communique said.

In addition, political parties should be sensitized to realize that the responsibility for voter education is not exclusively for INEC and CSOs as they must ensure all party agents and members of political parties on their roles at the polling units, collation centres.

To ensure women participation in the election, security operatives should work more to protect women who are actively participating in the election, there should be strong advocacy for women supporting women during the election or in politics generally.

“Women already in the position of power should mentor other women and encourage participation in politics and work towards forming their own political parties to end the negative narratives of tagging them as prostitutes or wayward for participating in politics,” the communique said.

The CSOs that participated in the meeting include Ondo state Development Forum, EyeMax Care Foundation, Centre for Environment and Community Development, Knowledge and Care Providers, Kids&Teens Resource Centre, Melville Women Initiative, Star Ruby Initiative and Human Development, Gender Equality and the Girl Child Development Foundation, Beacon for Hope and Action of Life, Community Development and Adherence Support Initiatives, Young Shall Grow Educational Initiative, Oloki Memorial Foundation and A-One Readers Education Foundation.

Others are Girls 2 Women Research and Development Foundation, Excel Mankind Wellbeing Initiative, Women Advancement and Development Initiative, Life and Peace Development Organization, Upline Centre For Development, Healthy Mother and Child Foundation, St Joavics Foundation, Handicapped Education Foundation and Global Assistance For Better Day Organization.

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