Tuesday 27th, September 2016
Election Monitor (EM) is one of the forty-four (44) Election Observer groups accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to observe the 2016 Edo State Governorship Election. Election Monitor has 36 observers in its mission who will be deployed across local government areas of Edo State on Wednesday 28th September, 2016.
It will be recalled that the Edo Governorship Election was originally scheduled to hold on Saturday 10th September 2016 but it was postponed as a result of ‘advice’ by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and Department of State Security (DSS). Election Monitor has publicly taken exception to the tactics employed by the NPF and DSS which basically compelled INEC to postpone an election it was prepared for. Election Monitor is still calling on the National Assembly to urgently and thoroughly investigate the postponement of the Edo Governorship election.
The Nigeria Police have also stated that they have come up with new innovations to ensure a hitch-free exercise such as Early deployment of personnel; Posting of personnel by name, GSM numbers and Commands/Formation for accountability; Synergy with other Sister Security Agency, who have submitted the names of their personnel to the Police for deployment; Vehicular patrols to be in place; A Unit of PMF personnel in each LGA; Intervention Squad in each Ward. Election Monitor encourages the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to ensure that these innovations are actually implemented and also very critically that voters, election observers and other stakeholders are not intimidated or harassed in the course of the election.
Some INEC National Commissioners and top personnel from Abuja were sighted at INEC State Headquarters Benin City on Monday 26th September 2016. These personnel are part of INEC’s monitoring team to cover the 18 LGAs of Edo State during the election. Election Monitor calls on INEC to carry out its activities effectively and ensure it remains neutral in all circumstances. The Commission should use this election as an opportunity to showcase its commitment to conduct free, fair and credible elections. INEC should also ensure that it effectively monitors the strict compliance to its guidelines on usage of card readers.
The Nigeria Police should keep its promise to bring to book all electoral offenders no matter how highly placed.
Political parties are encouraged to respect the rights of citizens and adhere to the rule of law in their activities. Politicians should endeavour to inform their supporters to eschew violence in all its ramifications.
Election Monitor enjoins all eligible voters to be peaceful and law abiding with permanent voter cards in Edo State to come out massively and exercise their civic duty on Wednesday 28th September, 2016.