Before The Election
On arriving Etsako West local government area on Friday night at 7 pm on the eve of the election, our team visited the INEC office in Etsako West LGA. Disbursement of electoral materials was ongoing as INEC representatives were sighted conveying the voting materials to the various wards. Security operatives were also seen within the INEC premises. They worked hard to ensure orderliness.
The Election Day
My team had to cover over 12 wards of Etsako Local Government which happens to be the local government origin of the former governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomole and present deputy governor, Philip Shaibu.
Personally, I concentrated in Auchi from where I moved to Ward 003, Polling Unit 5, federal polytechnic Auchi.
Remarkably, there was encouraging voter turn up. The residents of Auchi who were registered to vote in this polling unit came out in their numbers to exercise their franchise.
Accreditation and voting commenced at 8:47 am with Presiding officer, Assistant Presiding officer I, Assistant Presiding officer II, Assistant Presiding officer III, other INEC officials and security agents being on the ground to ensure the voters exercise their franchise.
About 223 persons voted in this polling unit. According to the result officially endorsed by INEC after counting, PDP secured 117 votes while the opposition party APC had 101 votes with 5 votes being declared invalid.
- Vote Buying: The various party agents were seen openly inducing voters with some money.
- Malfunctioning of Card Reader: The performance of the card reader machine was as low as 33% as it failed to detect the permanent voter’s card of most electorates.
- Bridging of public peace: Party agents were captured disturbing the INEC officials. They refused to allow INEC representatives to do their work without unnecessary interference.
- Logistics: There were not enough materials needed to ensure that voting exercise was completely hitch-free. For instance, the voters in this ward have to be subjected to a rigorous process of verifying their names on voters list because there was no tack nail or board to paste the name so that anybody can check.
- Flaw Of Covid-19 Protocol: INEC officials, security operatives and voters did not keep the COVID-19 protocol. Most voters were not wearing their face masks. Sanitizers or soap and water were not provided for the voters and social distancing was not maintained at all.
- There should be proper orientation by the independent national electoral commission, INEC. This should be aimed at thoroughly educating voters on the dangers of selling out their votes. In addition, security operatives must ensure that cases of vote-buying are seriously apprehended.
- In order to ensure that there is no breakdown of card readers, INEC should test run all the card readers before election day.
- In a bid to control activities of party agents in the polling centres, the party agents should be given a special seat at a corner where they can communicate with INEC officials but cannot disrupt voting activities.
- INEC should ensure that at the end of each election, preparation for the next election commences immediately. In this way, adequate logistics is provided.
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