Edo 2020: Observer queries integrity of poll

One of the observers in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, Intercontinental Leadership Initiative, has queried the integrity of the election.

Country Head of the organisation, Mr Stafford Bisong, who spoke in Benin on Monday. said that his group h had its officials across the 18 Local Government Area of Edo during the election, noting that the non-functional card readers used for the poll across the state, interrogated the integrity of the poll.

The Intercontinental Leadership Initiative added that another issue which also cast doubt on the integrity of the election was Tue failure to display voters registers five days before the election as prescribed by the electoral act.

Another finding by the organisation, according to Bisong, was the late arrival of sensitive and non-sensitive materials in about 80 per cent of polling units in most polling units, especially in the metropolitan councils of Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha and Egor Local Government Areas.

While calling on the need for improvement on the country’s voting process, he expressed the need to display voters register on time for eligible voters to know their voting units.

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“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 non-sensitive materials relatively late in 80 per cent of the polling units, prominent in Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha and Egor. Voting commenced around 1.30 pm in some parts of these polling units,” he noted.

“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. 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,” he added.

“Finally, non-functional card readers as noticed across the State led to the issue of multiple voting in parts of the polling units. 80 per cent of these card readers malfunctioned as they were not authenticating fingerprints of the voters which led to manual use of authentication.”

He also condemned the failure to adhere to the guidelines of the COVID-19 protocols as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission  (INEC).

The challenges notwithstanding, Bisong said the election was fair and credible because “many voters turn out.”

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