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Opinion

#OsunDecides2022: Observer’s Diary

Observer’s Diary

A few days before the Osun state governorship election, people had already predicted that the election would be tough, especially between the major contenders – Gboyega Oyetola (APC) and Ademola Adeleke (PDP). As a media observer who travelled from Abeokuta, Ogun State, to observe the Osun state governorship election, the experience I had said otherwise.

 

I was posted to OBOKUN  L.G.A, a local government under the Osun East senatorial district, to cover the Osun state governorship election. Obokun LGA is about 40 minutes drive from Osogbo, the state Capital. The L.G has 10 wards and  83 polling units.

 

On Friday, July 15, 2022, I arrived at OBOKUN L.G.A before 2:00 pm in order to familiarize myself with the environment. I stayed at Ibokun ward, where the local government INEC office is located.  I started observing at exactly 4:00 pm since the distribution process was yet to take place. At the Local government INEC office, all sensitive materials and other election materials were distributed amongst the 10 wards under the OBOKUN local government except for Ward 2, which got delayed but later got their materials before 6:00 pm.

 

At 7:00 pm, all sensitive materials were moved to their different wards. All security officers and INEC officials have also moved to their various wards ahead of the governorship election.

 

On election day, I set out at exactly 7:05 am for the election observation duty. I started observing from the Ibokun ward, which has nine (9) polling units according to the P.U directives. Security agents such as the Soldiers, police officers, and civil defence corps were out to maintain peace and orderliness at the polling units and communities.

 

In the Ibokun ward, it was observed that more polling units had been created in the ward. For example, polling units 10 and 11 made it easy for residents to cast their votes. 

 

I moved to Ward 2( Ipetu-Ile) to observe the election process there. I observed that at P.U (1), while the INEC officials were trying to educate the electorates, especially the party agents, on the election process, the party agents never believed in the INEC officials thinking they’d been compromised. This shows that some party agents have little knowledge of the election processes.

 

At polling unit (08), as of 9:00 am, the election hadn’t commenced due to the failure of the BVA. This actually delayed the voting process till past 5:00 pm in the evening. During this period, there was vote buying by an APC agent outside the Polling unit. He monitors them as they vote and lead the voters to a house near the polling unit for payment. Some of the voters sold their votes for N10,000. 

 

I also visited Ward 3 (Okinyinwa),  P.U 03, P.U 06, and  P.U 04. At polling unit (03), I came across a PWD who was given priority to cast his vote before other electorates at the polling unit. Priorities were given to pregnant women and the elderly too.

 

Ward 4 (Ilase), residents came out to cast their votes. The turnout was high. Amidst heavy downpour, residents still came out to cast their votes and waited till the votes were counted at the polling unit. 

 

At 6:00 pm, I left for the local government collation centre to get the election results. On getting there, I met security officials and domestic Observers at the collation centre, waiting for the ward supervisors to return from their respective RAs. A few minutes later, some of the ward supervisors brought their results while the Local government returning officer examined the results carefully. Most of the reports from the Obokun wards were corrected due to some identified errors seen in the reports.

 

There was no provision for a projector, which made it difficult to get the entire results from the local government.

 

No Proper Arrangements For INEC Officials

 

It was observed that there were no proper arrangements for the INEC  officials, especially corps members who were deployed to OBOKUN local government. For instance, at 4:35 pm, many wards had already gotten their election materials from the INEC office, except corp members who were deployed to Ward 2( Ipetu-Ile) were delayed due to the fact that their materials were not complete. At 5: 45pm, they were later attended to. Meanwhile, there was no adequate provision for transportation. The corp members attached to ward 2 had to find their way to the RA, including a pregnant woman who is also a corp member. 

 

 Free Election

 

The just concluded election shows that the INEC is actually getting it right. The electorates were allowed to cast their votes freely without intimidation at the polling units. The electorates chose their preferred candidate without being queried. Though the local government was perceived to be a PDP-owned local government as PDP took away most of the votes at the polling units in different wards under OBOKUN L/G. The election went freely without violence.

 

DISCLAIMER: This story has been published on Campus Reporter with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author.



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