CLEEN Foundation has outdoored its preliminary findings on the conduct of security personnel on election duty during the 2020 governorship election in edo state.
On Security related observations, CLEEN Foundation observed that 86% of security personnel arrived at the polling units across Edo state before 8:00am, while 11% arrived between 8:00am – 8:59am; and 3% arrived 9:00am or later.
According to the Foundation, 83% of the polling units across the country were protected by unarmed security personnel. However, there were reports of firearm possession in 17% of the polling units.
Below is the full report
CLEEN FOUNDATION: PRELIMINARY FINDINGS ON THE CONDUCT OF SECURITY PERSONNEL ON ELECTION DUTY DURING THE 2020 GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION IN EDO STATE
The Election Security Support Centre (ESSC) of CLEEN Foundation, in collaboration with the Police Service Commission (PSC) is monitoring the conduct of security agencies deployed for the Edo State Governorship election held today Saturday 19th 2020.
The ESSC tracked security related developments across the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo states. This was done through 50 accredited observers trained by CLEEN Foundation and deployed across the 18 Local Government Areas in the state. In addition, CLEEN Foundation deployed a Cleen Mobile, a Citizen Observer App that allows citizens to report security issues in their polling units. Other information relating to the election security were equally tracked from the CLEEN Foundation’s social media platforms. The following issues are highlighted as part of our preliminary report.
3.0 Opening of Polling Units
Reports across the Local Government Areas in Edo state indicate that there was early and high voter turnout for the polls across the state. Furthermore, it was observed in some of the polling units that security personnel, electoral officers and election materials did not arrive at the polling units as at 8:30 am. For instance, CLEEN Foundation observers noted that election materials arrived late at units 016 to 039, Ward 07 in Ikpoba Okha which led to the delay to commencement of the elections in the unit.
4.0 Security Related Observations
4.1. Early Arrival of Security Personnel: CLEEN Foundation observed that 86% of security personnel arrived at the polling units across Edo state before 8:00am, while 11% arrived between 8:00am – 8:59am; and 3% arrived 9:00am or later.
4.2 Possession of Firearms at the Polling Unit: CLEEN Foundation observed 83% of the polling units across the country were protected by unarmed security personnel. However, there were reports of firearm possession in 17% of the polling units.
4.3 Adequacy of Security personnel at the Polling Units: CLEEN observed that on the aggregate, 83% of the polling units had three or more security personnel,11% noted two security personnel on ground.
4.4 Identification of Security Personnel: CLEEN observed that 96% of the security personnel were wearing easily identifiable name tags. However, 3% of the security personnel were not wearing identifiable name tags, while the status of 1% in relation to wearing of identifiable nametags were unknown.
4.5 Approachability of Security Personnel: Report from our observes shows that 94% of the security personnel at the polling units were approachable. 3% were observed to be somewhat approachable while 3% of security personnel were not approachable by their disposition.
4.6. Impartiality of Security Personnel at the Polling Unit: Statistics available to CLEEN Foundation shows that 83% of security personnel were impartial while 17% of the security agents were some-what partial. For instance, at Uwa Primary School, Ward 10, PU 21 (Oredo Local Government Area), party and security agents were observed monitoring electorates votes in the cubicle disregarding the secrecy of the balloting system.
4.7. Feeling of Safety at the Polling unit: CLEEN observed that 78% of the polling units were safe and secure while 22% were observed to be somewhat safe and secure.
5.0 General Observations
5.1. Misplacement of Election Result Sheet : CLEEN Foundation observed that at Evbiose primary school, Sagbongida Ora, Owan West, Local Government Area (Ward 4, unit 5&6,), INEC result sheet distributed to the ward was meant for another ward in the Local Government area and this led to the refusal of the voters to vote.
5.2. Deployment of INEC Officials: CLEEN observed the early arrival and setting up of polling units before 8.00am in most Local Government Areas of the state where our observers were stationed. However, in Ekae Primary School, (Ward 2, Unit 10), Oredo Local Government Area, our observers reported that INEC Officials and voting materials had not arrived as at 10.30 am.
5.3. Welfare of INEC Adhoc Officials: At Ivbiyeneva Primary School, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area (PU 1-20, ward 5), CLEEN observed the issue of poor welfare of Corps members as they protested nonpayment of their stipends and threatened not to commence electoral process until they are paid.
5.4. COVID 19 Protocols: CLEEN Foundation observed that most electorates apart from the wearing of face masks, did not comply with all the non-pharmaceutical measures. In most polling units monitored, it was observed that there was no physical distancing and absence of sanitizers. For instance, in Uwa Primary School, (Unit 1, Ward 10), voters were observed wearing facemasks bearing “Edo state Government Logo- Edo cares “. There was no social distancing amongst voters in the unit. Furthermore, in ward 4, (unit 19) at Emokpae Primary School, voters did not observe the physical distancing protocol. At Uneme Osu Primary School (Unit 11, ward 9), in Akoko Edo Local Government Area, rowdiness was observed, and physical distancing protocol was not adhered to.
5.5.Vote Trading: CLEEN Foundation observe disturbing incidents of vote trading across the state especially in Egor, Ovia South West, and Oredo Local Government Areas. For instance, In Oredo Local Government Area, Observers noted cases of vote trading at Igbesanwen Primary School, Unit 1, ward 9. Furthermore, there were reported incidents of inducement of voters within the range of N2,000 to N5,000 from the party agents of the two leading political parties. At Oza Primary School, voters were induced within the range of N1,000 to N5,000 by agents of the two leading political parties. Furthermore, at Agbado Primary School, Ward 12, Oredo Local Government Area, there was mass inducement of voters by party agents. In Egor Local Government Area, at Edaiken Primary School (Unit 2, Ward 8) party agents of the two major political parties were seen inducing voters at all the polling points with the sum of N5,000. Also in Ward 9, Okhoro, there were massive inducement of voters with an average price of N5,000.
In Ovia Southwest, (Ward 2, Unit 8), our observers at Obaretin Okpon Primary School, reported that there were financial inducements by party agents of about N500 to N700 to voters at that unit. At Olele Junction, (unit 9, ward 1, Etsako West Local Government Area), Police Officers were observed collaborating with party agents and INEC personnel on inducing voters. In Igueben local Government Area, political party agents were inducing voters monetarily at Usata Primary School, unit 3, ward 4. At Obe primary school, Sagbongida Ora, Owan West Local Government Area (Ward 4, Unit 7), CLEEN observers noted vote trading between voters and party agents. At Army Children School, ward 6, Ovia North East, our observers reported an incident of voter’s impersonation. At Ujemen Primary School, ward 005, Ekpoma, Esan West Local Government Area, Party agents from the two leading political parties were observed inducing voters within the range of N1,000 to N2,000
At Etsako West, (ward 4, unit 6, &ward 5, unit 3) our observers noted massive inducement of the voters by party agents, while at Akoko Edo LGA, party agents were observed inducing voters within the range of N3,000 to N5,000.
5.6. Other Technical, operational & Administrative Issues
CLEEN Foundation observed that in Oredo Local Government Area, most party agents lacked proper identification.
Furthermore, CLEEN Foundation observed issues with the functionality of the smart card readers in some polling units. For instance, at Ekae primary school (Ward 2, unit 10,) Oredo Local Government Area, some voters could not exercise their franchise because the smart card readers were not displaying their names. In Eguare Primary School, (Igueben Local Government Area), Ward 9, smart card readers were faulty, this led to delay in the commencement of the voting process.
CLEEN Foundation will continue to observe the elections and later issue her post-election statement to detail more on the overall conduct of the security personnel on election duty.
Thank you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Benson Olugbuo, PhD