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Osun Decides: JDPMC Observes High Level Of Voters Inducement






JDPMC deployed 60 election observers for election day observation across 86 Polling Units in 43 wards across the 30 LGAs in Osun State for the July 16 2022 Osun State Gubernatorial election. JDPMC received timely reports which passed our index of credibility from the 60 observers on the situation of 76 polling Units across 42 wards in the 30 LGAs of the State. JDPMC opened a live Situation Room which received, processed and transmitted field reports in real time. Also, in collaboration with Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, opened and ran the Case Tracking and Response Centre for the Stop Violence Against Women in Politics campaign with technical support from the National Democratic Institute.

General Observation
JDPMC observed significant improvement generally with the entire organization and execution of the election from the beginning to the conclusion of voting (as at the time of this report 19:18 Nigerian time, 88% of Polling Units have concluded voting).

The Organization of Polling Units
Across all the Polling Units Observed, there was incident of late commencement of voting only in one Polling Unit in Obokun Local Government Area namely Ward 6 Polling Unit 8 in Imesi Ile. There, voting commenced at 9:00am instead of 8:30am due to late arrival of Polling officials.

There was general atmosphere of orderliness in 93% of the polling units with proper spacing to allow for the Open-secret Balloting. However, in 8% of polling units located in very choked environments, there were occasional distractions on the queue which necessitated stopping of voting for reorganization. Voting was slower in such polling Units. Also, party agents had easy access to the polling booth from their allotted spaces due to very choked conditions.

It was only in Ward 4 Polling Unit 010 Alajue in Ede South that the Election Monitor was seen asking voters to drop their phones before going into the polling booth. Some tried to resist, but none was allowed to vote without compliance.

Accreditation of Voters

The BVAS which was used for the accreditation of voters functioned in 100% of the Polling Units which JDPMC observed. In cases where it did not recognize finger prints, it did capture the faces of voters. No voter was observed to have been disenfranchised due to the non-functioning of the BVAS.
Transfer of Polling Units
It was observed by JDPMC that several persons trekked for kilometers to access their polling Units. This indicated that many persons didn’t carry out transfer of Polling Units despites pre-election enlightenment. There were situations as well where a polling unit in Ede South; Ward 4 Polling Unit 009 had only 175 registered voters while Ward 3 Polling Unit 001 which was 400 meters away had 872 registered voters. In Osogbo LGA, Ward 5 Polling Unit 26 has only 29 registered voters and 17 accredited voters while there were closer to it polling units with over a thousand voters. Furthermore, in Osogbo LGA, a voter transferred from Ward 7 Polling Unit 6 to Ward 7 Polling Unit 9. He found his name in Polling Unit 6 but his permanent Voters Card was referenced for Polling Unit 9 where his name was missing. He was not allowed to vote.

Vote Buying

Incidents of vote buying was recorded in 75 out of 76 polling units that JDPMC observed. When voter inducer alleged to be agent of APC arrived in Ward 10 Polling Unit 23 of Egbedore LGA, he was resisted by voters. The incident was followed within minutes by an attempt by a thug to disrupt the voting process. This was brought under control by the security agents. Voter inducement ranged between N4,000 and N10,000 in the case of APC and between N3,000 and N5,000 in the case of PDP. It was observed that almost all the contesting political party’s agents were well disposed and participated in acts of voters’ inducement. The methods involved giving tallies to voters or writing down their names after voting and directing them to locations away from the Polling Units where they were paid. In Ward 6 Polling Unit 3 of Irepodun LGA however, the situation degenerated to the point that Party agents accompanied voters into the Polling Booth, and in some instances, thumb printed for them. Also, in Ward 4 Polling Unit 001 of Ife South LGA, vehicles were parked openly in the field, voters openly went there to collect money after voting. In Ward 6 Polling Unit 3 of Irepodun LGA, a master forced his apprentice to vote for a particular candidate. The resistance of the apprentice and his family almost resulted into a violent incident. Generally, the security agents didn’t pay attention to vote buying except in Ward 1 Polling Unit 2 of Boripe LGA where secret police agents arrested 3 inducers of voters alleged to be APC agents and carted them away from the venue.

Violence Against Women
In few LGAs such Ward 9 Polling Unit 001 of Ede South, women had a different queue apart from men. Pregnant women and nursing mothers and the aged were given priority. The same was observed in Ward 6 Polling Unit 3 of Irepodun LGA. However, there were several instances when acclaimed spouses of certain women insisted on following them to the polling booth alleging that their wives could not recognize the parties of their choices. With much pressure, they were allowed.
JDPMC considers the 2022 Osun election a commendable improvement on the electoral process in Nigeria. INEC’s performance in terms of planning and execution up to the conclusion of voting in most of the polling units is very well commendable. JDPMC observed that the effective procedure of INEC has returned the power of voting to the people. However, it is observed that the people in most cases sold the same power through vote trading.
JDPMC shall present full report at the conclusion of the entire election process. JDPMC wishes to appreciate all its field observers, the situation room team, the joint team of the Ministry of Women Affairs, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps and JDPMC which jointly managed the Case Tracking and Response Centre of the Stop Violence Against Women in Politics as well as the gentlemen of the press who worked hard for the success of her election duty.

Rev Fr Peter Akinkunmi
General Coordinator