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Edo Polls: There were ‘vote for cash/cash for vote’ – TMG

TMG in Edo complains about allegations of inducement of voters by political parties on the basis of ‘vote for cash/cash for vote’ to influence votes

TMG Preliminary Statement on the Sept 28, 2016 Edo State Gubernatorial Election

INTRODUCTION

On Wednesday, September 28, 2016, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) deployed 100 citizen observers throughout the Edo State to observe the gubernatorial election. 

TMG Observers were deployed across the 18 local government areas (LGAs) of Edo State.  

TMG observers witnessed the entire Election Day process from setup of the polling unit through the announcement and posting of the official results. 

Accordingly, TMG observers called the Information Center to report their observation findings at the end of the exercise. 

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

Based on our observer reports from all the 18 LGAs, TMG finds that the Election Day process commenced early in most of the polling units visited, there was prompt deployment of materials and personnel by INEC except in a few places as well as proper conduct by security personnel in all the polling units visited. 

Largely, the polling process was generally peaceful in spite of few reported incidents of violence, intimidation, harassment and delays during the set-up and opening of polling units, and those associated with accreditation and voting processes. 

TMG observers reported complaints about allegations of inducement of voters by political parties on the basis of ‘vote for cash/cash for vote’ to influence who they voted for. 

This will be a sore narrative of 2016 Edo State Election. 

We condemn the pathetic, sorrowful and ignoble act as it is our considered view that when people sell their votes, they become slaves to those who bought it.

They surrender their power and strength as citizens and they are robbed of the moral right to hold the politicians accountable or question any wrong doing by the politicians. 

TMG, however, wishes to recognize the commendable level of participation in the election by the citizens of Edo State and congratulate their peaceful conduct throughout the Election Day process. 

TMG also observed that the adequate security presence at the polling units was of tremendous help in maintaining the peaceful environment. 

TMG notes further that the process provided most people of Edo State with a meaningful opportunity to exercise their rights to vote, and that in spite of the few reported incidents of intimidation, violence, and voter inducement, these incidents do not significantly undermine the integrity of the accreditation, voting and counting processes. 

ABOUT TRANSITION MONITORING GROUP (TMG) 

TMG is Nigeria’s premier citizen observer group. 

TMG observed the transition from military rule to the return to democratic rule in 1999 and all subsequent national and state elections after. 

TMG is a coalition of over 400 civil society organizations based in all 36 states and the FCT. 

TMG reports are based on findings from our carefully selected, trained and accredited citizen observers. 

TMG volunteers are drawn from every corner of the State and include : men and women, people with disabilities (PWDs), youths and elders, Christians and Muslims. 

TMG is an independent and strictly non-partisan organization with no affiliation to any political party or candidate. 

FINDINGS 

Set-up and Opening of Polling Units:

TMG observers arrived as early as 7:30am across all the polling units they were deployed to observe. 

We observed prompt deployment of materials and INEC personnel across most of the observed polling units, except in few places. 

TMG observers reported an average deployment of at least 4 INEC officials in most of the observed polling units and a good proportion of them were women, security personnel were also seen in all of the observed polling units, proper conduct by the security personnel was largely observed. 

Party agents were also seen in all of the observed polling units. 

However, many among the contesting Political Parties were unable to deploy Agents to several Polling Units.

Accreditation and voting:

Accreditation and voting commenced between 8:00am – 9:00am in most of the observed polling units. Card readers functioned optimally in the observed polling units, and polling officials ask voters for their permanent voters’ cards in the observed polling units. 

Polling officials applied indelible ink on left fingers of accredited voter in the observed polling units. 

Some voters were accredited to vote even though card reader could not verify their permanent voter card. 

The few incidents of Card Reader malfunctioning were promptly attended to by the INEC ICT team and were mostly resolved.

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