The ongoing governorship election in Edo state is characterized by a number of incidents which could discredit the process.
Specifically, Yiaga Africa pointed out intimidation and harassment, violent disruption of the process, ballot box snatching and vote buying in some local government areas.
Yiaga Africa made this known in its preliminary report it released in Benin.
The report signed by Chair, Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote – 2020 Edo Election Observation Mission, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi and Executive Director Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote,
Samson Itodo, urged INEC among other things, to ensure strict compliance with the application of the election guidelines in the result collation process.
Here is the finding from the group:
Yiaga Africa has received a total of 18 verified incident reports. They include the following;
• Intimidation and Harassment of Election Observers: Yiaga Africa WTV observers were harassed and their observation materials were confiscated by party agents in Edogun Primary School Hall I, Polling Unit in Orhionmwon LGA and Ozolua Grammar School, Polling Unit 009 of Ward 10 in Ikpoba/Okha LGA.
• Violent Disruption of the Accreditation and Voting Process: Yiaga Africa observers reported sporadic shooting leading to the suspension of voting in Idumwongo Polling Unit 5, Ward 7 in Orhionmwon LGA. The voting process was also disrupted in Obodeko Primary School, PU 003 in Ward 8 of Igueben LGA where a political party supporter mobilized thugs to the PU to disrupt the process.
• Ballot Box Snatching: Observers reported incidents of ballot box snatching by party supporters in Ozolua Grammar School, Polling Unit 009 of Ward 10 in Ikpoba/Okha LGA and Obodeko Amahor Pri/Sch Unit 003 of Ward 8 in Igueben LGA.
• Compromising the secrecy of the ballot: Yiaga Africa received series of reports of voters displaying how they marked their ballots thereby compromising the secrecy of the ballot. These cases were recorded in Orhionmion II, Edogun Pri/Sch Hall; Obodeko Primary School, PU 003 Amaharo, Ward 08 in Igueben LGA; Uelen-Ujugb Uromi Open Space VI PU 013 and Ward 4 in Esan North-East LGA.
• Interference by Party Agents: Party agents interfered in the accreditation and voting process in PU 001 at Ugbo Wardin Orhionmwon LGA; Ukpato Ward, Evbuosa Pri/Sch Iguemokhua PU, Orhionmwon II. In Ihogbe Secondary School, Unit 006. Ward 5 of Oredo LGA, a political party agent gave a voter a PVC that does not belong to him to vote, the culprit was apprehended by the security.
• Incidence of Vote Buying: Yiaga Africa observers stationed at Asoro Grammar School, PU 002 in Ward 1 of Egor LGA, reported that party agents distributed cash to influence voters. Similar incidents were also reported in Omo Nursery/Primary School, PU 005, Ward 1 in Egor LGA, where party agents were seen giving cash to voters. Similar incident was reported in Adams Int. Sch. Evbareke 1 Polling Unit in Egor, voters openly showed how they marked their ballots. Vote buying was reported in Uromi-Open Space VI, 013, Uelen/Okugbe/ Uromi, party agents were seen distributing cash to voters.