CLEEN Foundation, in line with its mandate to promote public safety and security, deployed Sixty (60) Citizen Observers across the thirty (30) Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Osun State to observe the conduct of security personnel on election duty at the Osun State Governorship Election holding today July 16th 2022.
This preliminary statement from the foundation’s Election Security Support Centre (ESSC) provides a summary of key observations so far, and the degree to which security agencies and other critical stakeholders in the process complied with electoral guidelines governing the conduct of the elections from the time the polls opened to 12noon on Election Day, Saturday, 16th July, 2022.
The Election Security Support Centre of CLEEN Foundation, observed, tracked, documented, escalated and followed up on security-related developments across the thirty (30) Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Osun State, where our “Citizen Observers” were deployed. CLEEN Foundation utilized the “CLEEN Mobile App” which allows our observers to report their observations on “Election Security” and other related issues in their respective polling units across the LGAs in Osun State.
The following issues have been highlighted as part of our preliminary report as of noon on Election Day, Saturday, July 16th 2022.
3.0 OPENING OF POLL
3.1 Arrivals: It was widely observed that across the thirty (30) LGAs in Osun State, INEC staff and materials as well as registered voters arrived early for the polls. This was collaborated in 85.1% of the Polling Units covered, INEC officials were observed and reported to be present before 08:00 am.
4.0 SECURITY RELATED OBSERVATIONS
4.1 Early Arrivals of Security personnel: CLEEN’s Citizens Observers, recorded that 19.1% of security personnel arrived at the polling units before 7:00 am, 66% arrived before 8:00 am and 14.9% arrived after 8:00 am. This indicates that 85.1% of security personnel arrived early at the polling units across the 30 LGAs in Osun state. For instance, CLEEN observed that in polling unit: 003, ward: 04, Baptist Primary. School III, Abaale, Ifedayo local government area and PU 011, Ward 09, Open space, Osun state polytechnic Gate Iree, Boripe LGA, security agents as well as INEC officials arrived after 8:00 am
4.2 Possession of Firearms:
CLEEN Foundation observed that most security personnel at the polling units in compliance with electoral laws were not armed. However, in a couple of polling units, CLEEN Foundation observers noted that armed security personnel were seen at the polling unit. For instance, in PU 007 Adeniji, Ward 29, Ila LGA, armed security agents were at the polling unit and in PU 26, Ward 1, Mallamtope filling station, Saba Community, Olorunda Local Government Area, DSS officers were observed to be heavily armed, and their faces covered. However, other security men on election duty maintained a reasonable distance from the polling units and patrolled the polling unit periodically with arms.
4.3 Adequacy of Security Personnel:
According to reports received by CLEEN Foundation Election Security Support Centre (ESSC) 68.1% of the polling units had three or more security personnel while 31.9% had two security personnel at the polling units. This implies that all the polling units had a minimum of two security personnel in the 2022 Osun State Governorship Election.
4.4 Identification of Security Personnel:
Data from CLEEN Foundation Election Security Support Centre, (ESSC) indicates that 93.6% of security personnel are wearing easily identifiable name tags while only 6.4% were not wearing easily identifiable name tags.
4.5 Approachability of Security Agents:
A very high number of security personnel were reported to be approachable by CLEEN Foundation observers. 40.4% and 53.2% of the security personnel were reported to be very approachable and approachable respectively while 6.4% were somewhat approachable.
4.6 Feeling of Safety of Polling Units:
Majority of CLEEN Foundation observers across the 30 Local Government Areas in the 2022 Governorship Election in Osun State reported that they felt safe and secured at the polling unit. 53.2% and 34.0% felt very safe and secure and safe and secure respectively while 12.8% felt somewhat safe and secure.
4.7 Impartiality of Security Personnel:
According to the data from CLEEN Foundation ESSC, 55.3% of security personnel were observed to be impartial, 6.4% somewhat impartial while 38.3% were not impartial. Some of the alleged partiality against the security personnel on election duty is their fairlure to stop/arrest persons involved in vote trading across the polling units in the state.
4.8 Overall Conduct of Security Personnel:
In general, CLEEN Foundation observed that most security personnel were reported to be of good conduct while a few were reported to be of fair/bad conduct. CLEEN Foundation will continue to monitor their conduct as the election progresses.
5.0 GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
5.1 Turn Out of Electorates:
CLEEN Foundation observed across the 30 Local Government Areas that voter turn-out was low and later improved in some polling units. However, this can be attributed to the rainy weather condition experienced. In PU 011, Ward 10, Arimoro High School, Ilesa West LGA, party agents were seen going around to canvas people to come out and vote
5.2 Functionality of BVAS:
CLEEN Foundation observed the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in various polling Units across the 30 LGA. However, in PU 028, Ward 05, Ife Central, Open Space, motion ground, OAU, Iremo/Ajebandele the BVAS had network issues as they couldn’t login into the portal to verify voters. In OAU; PU 011, Ward 03, Ibokun Hall, Obokun local government LGA; PU 08, Ward 05, Open Space Government Mini Water Scheme, Ifelodun LGA and PU 18, Ward, 14, Fiwasaye maternity centre, Olorunda LGA BVAs malfunctioned and were replaced accordingly and in some instance led to the slow accreditation and voting because of its inability to quickly identify fingerprints/facial recognition of voters.
5.3 Inclusivity/Priority Voting:
Across the 30 LGA, CLEEN ESSC observed that INEC gave priority to the elderly, pregnant women and persons with disability in the process. In PU 02, Ward 09, Eruku, Isokan LGA, the aged were given special treatment to get them accredited first, followed by the heavily pregnant women, and nursing mothers. Also, in PU 014, Ward 05, Sports Center OAU, Ife central LGA Pregnant women and the elderly were attended to before other voters. Also observed was the improved participation of women and youth in the electoral process.
5.4 Vote Trading/Secrecy of the Ballot:
Widespread vote-trading was observed by CLEEN Foundations ESSC, for instance in PU 014, Ward 05, Sport centre Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife- Central LGA, A party loyalist was seen canvassing to pay #10,000 if voters are ready to vote for his party. Also in PU 009, Ward 11, Oke Aree, Boripe LGA, massive vote trading was observed as voters show the party voted for and tallies were issued by party agents to the voter to claim the money.
In PU 09, Ward 01, Idilapo ogodobo, Obokun LGA, voters were given money inside a bar house to vote for a political party. Also promises of food items were made after they had voted. More so, in PU 14, Ward 05, Sports Centre Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife Central LGA, voters were seen writing their names for a party to collect 3,000 and 10,000 for respective political parties. While in PU 009, Ward 11, Oke Aree, Boripe LGA, party Agents stylishly peeped into the cubicle to ascertain the specific party each voter voted for.
The Election Security Support Centre of CLEEN observed that in some polling units thugs were observed hanging around which instilled fear in voters for instance, in PU 011, Ward 10, Arimoro High School, Ilesa West LGA, political thugs on bike arrived and voters were noticed panicking.
Based on the above observations, CLEEN Foundation commend the good people of Osun State for their peaceful conduct, so far. CLEEN also commends the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other key Stakeholders for their professional conducts during the election. CLEEN Foundation applauds the security and law enforcement agencies, led by the Nigeria Police Force for the good conduct of its personnel, which has contributed to peaceful electoral outcomes, so far.
We call on security agencies to investigate and address the observed cases of vote trading and other electoral offenses. Furthermore, CLEEN calls on INEC and security agencies to continue to maintain this level of professionalism till the end of the polls.
God blessthe good people of Osun State
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Acting Executive Director