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Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu

An Observer in the just concluded Edo Governorship election, Intercontinental Leadership Initiative, has faulted the integrity of the Sept. 19 poll.

The Country Head of the organisation, Mr. Stafford Bisong, who addressed a news conference in Benin on Monday, said that none functional card readers used for the poll across the State raised integrity issue about the poll.

Bisong who said he had his officials across the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo during the election, also cited the none display of voters register five days before the elecitom as prescribed by the electoral act.

Bisong said another finding by the organisation was late arrival of sensitive and none sensitive materials in about 80 per cent of polling units, especially in Oredo, Ikpoba-Okha and Egor Local Government Areas.

While calling for 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.

“We discovered a lot of discrepancies on the field during election and we concluded that there is more to desire in our electoral voting procedure.

“Both sensitive and none sensitive materials arrived 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.

“Another one is the issue of voters’ register. The register was pasted just less than 24 hours to the election and this made it difficult for many to be part of the exercise.

“We again discovered that the voters’ register was not updated, as a result, this made it impossible for many to participate in the exercise.

“Some of these people may have relocated, some died while Covid-19 pandemic may have kept many away.

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“Finally, none functional card readers as noticed across the State led to the issue of voting complications in parts of the polling units.

“Eighty per cent of these card readers malfunctioned as they were not authenticating finger prints of the voters which led to manual means of authencation.”

In spite of the challenges, however, Bisong said the election was fair and credible because, “Many voters turned out.”

Bisong concluded that there was non adherance to the COVID-19 protocol guidelines as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission.