As an Observer in the just concluded Ondo State 2020 governorship poll held on the 10th of October, 2020, from my observation and what I saw on the field, it could be said to be one which the minds of the people was influenced by money. In many of the polling units I visited and moved around in Ondo West local government area of the state, there were issues of vote-buying.
In one of the polling unit, a voter (50yrs+) had to tell me that ever since she was born, she had not seen where soft drinks and snacks were used to change and influence the minds of the people, by a political party (name withheld). This is to say that, money was not only the mean by which the minds of the people was influenced by.
Another case in my observation at the poll was getting to another polling unit and saw people going in and out of a passage beside the polling booth – their movement was suspicious and when I enquired from one of the security officers there, he could only say “They are just moving, passing there to another route,” with a shaking voice (as he or all other security personnel might have been compromised) and when I checked, the path led nowhere and that pointed my reasoning to something must be going on, even as I saw people in twos and threes discussing and were not looking balanced nor calm with their conversations. Another and the one which made it obvious vote-buying was happening was when a lady said “Auntie, moti dibo ooooo. Owo yen daa?”, meaning, “Auntie, I have cast my vote, where is the money?” Funny right? It’s not until I told a party agent had earlier wanted to share me a token until I rejected it respectfully that “It is not the duty of a party or their agent to cater for an observer”
Another incident was when boys of a certain political party were chasing themselves on a bike that one could hit the other on another bike a big blow, I got to know that the one slapped decided to take all the money meant to be shared to voters in a polling unit for himself.
How will the system change when those who are to change it are not ready for it but bows to being comprised? A system will not change nor reform itself when those who are to change it are sleeping. Who then should be blamed when the government fails – THE PEOPLE or THE GOVT ITSELF?
Another area I observed in the poll was that no or less concerned was given to People Living With Disabilities (PLWDs). I had to tell a polling officer that he should attend to a woman sitting on a wheelchair first because of her strength, that was when she was attended to since she has been there. Another of it was a man with leg disability but was left unattended to. It was when I drew the attention of the PO and APOs to it that he was attended to.
Over 95% of the voters disobeyed the COVID-19 preventive measures laid down for the election as well – No social distancing; no use of facemask; except that the election officials sanitized their (voters) hands before they vote.
It was yet another beautiful and exciting experience for me to have observed the #OndoDecides2020, after my experiences in previous elections.
This story has been published on CAMPUS REPORTER with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author.
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