International civil society group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement, YIAGA, #WatchingTheVote (WTV) has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for opening polling units early for the Ekiti state governorship election.
They said all essential materials needed for the conduct of the election were present in 99 percent of the polling units.
“YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV observation for the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial elections is fully operational. At this time, YIAGA AFRICA has received reports from 242 of 250 sampled polling units across the 16 LGAs,” the statement read.
“These are preliminary findings as of 12:00 pm on election day. The following data will be updated as additional reports are received from WTV observers at sampled polling units.
As at 7:30 a.m, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC officials had arrived at 78 percent of polling units.
“In those polling units where INEC officials and materials arrived, 83 percent of polling units had four polling officials present, 7 percent had more than four polling officials present and 10% had fewer than four polling officials present.
“Eighty-nine percent of polling units had at least one female polling official present, 54 percent of polling units had two or more female polling officials present.
“By 9:00 a.m, 91 percent of polling units had commenced accreditation and voting.
“Card readers were observed in 100 percent of polling units. All essential materials (register of voters, indelible ink-marker pen, polling official stamp, voting cubicle, ink pad, Form EC.8A statement of results and form EC.40H Voter Information) were present in 99 percent of polling units.
“Party agents were seen at 15 percent of polling units, APC agents at 100 percent of polling units, and PDP agents at 100 percent of polling units. YIAGA commends INEC on the timely opening of polling units, particularly as compared to the Anambra gubernatorial election where INEC officials were observed in only 28 percent of polling units by 7:30 am and accreditation and voting had begun by 9:00 am in 39 percent of polling units.”
They urged INEC to continue to uphold the secrecy of the ballot.
“Security agents deployed to polling stations should apprehend an individual or group involved in vote buying. Parties should ensure that their representatives are present to observe the process and counting,” they said.
“INEC should continue to adhere to the election guidelines as voting continues and throughout the process. YIAGA AFRICA encourages security agents to conduct themselves professionally and to continue to assure a peaceful process.
“We urge public and private media organizations to uphold the core principles of ethical journalism in their reportage of the election.”