A coalition of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accredited domestic observers for Edo State governorship election have expressed satisfaction with the conduct of Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the state, noting that the election was free, credible, transparent and met international standards for domestic elections.
The domestic observer groups at a press conference in Benin City on Monday, noted that “INEC was resolute, prepared and committed to conducting a credible, free and fair governorship election in Edo State by providing a level playing ground for all the political parties and ensuring timely and even distribution of election materials across the entire polling units as well as timely commencement of the election.”
Spokesperson for the coalition, Mr. Victor Kalu, said the law enforcement agents were duty conscious and performed their jobs dispassionately, adding: “They indeed saw the election job as a national assignment and acted accordingly. The law enforcement agents and other designated government officials to the election abided by the terms of reference and status of constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, before, during and after the election.”
The coalition declared that the exercise met international standard for credible democratic elections and urged that the results should be accepted by all as a true reflection of the will of the people of the state.
“We are happy to observe that much of the perceived tension and fear of Edo State to be submerged with electoral violence and other security breaches during the election, stemmed from the information which unscrupulous elements and people outside the state were peddling because Edo State is perceived to be prone to electoral violence. In the case of this election, we noted a peaceful election to the disappointment of the doomsayers.
“We observed with satisfaction that INEC’s uncompromising position on the strict compliance to the use of smart card readers which was very effective during the election and cancellation of results where applicable, due to violence and other violations, to a very large extent, defined the entire exercise and positioned INEC as truly committed to getting it right in our electoral process as a democratic nation,” the observers noted.
The group of election observers recommended that “INEC, political parties and stakeholders especially the civil society group should engage more on voter education and mobilisation before every election to improve and encourage improved voter participation during elections.”
They applauded all security agencies for their impressive professional conduct during the election, adding “there was no record of intimidation and harassment due to their overzealous interference.”
The observers also commended INEC for “remaining resolute and committed to giving Edo and indeed Nigerians such a wonderful and acceptable election.
“We thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his fatherly disposition by not interfering in the election, but remained true to his words of ensuring credible and transparent elections in Nigeria,” Kalu said.