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OSUN STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION

Posted: 2018-10-04


PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC) INTRODUCTION:

Pursuant to Section 5 of the NHRC Amendment Act (2010) and other Human Rights Instruments to which Nigeria is a party, the Commission deployed Monitors to observe the Osun State Gubernatorial Election which took place on 22nd September, 2018.

The following is the Preliminary Statement of NHRC in relation to the election:

1. Deployment of Staff: The Commission deployed 34 Monitors, who covered 12 Local Government Areas in Osun State namely: Oshogbo, Ife North, Irepodun, Olorunda, Oloru, Egbedore, Ilesa-West, Ede South, Obokun, Ifelodun, Ede South, Ife Central.

2. Commencement of Accreditation /Voting and Explanation of Voting Procedure: Reports from Monitors indicate that accreditation and voting began timely and simultaneously (between 8 am and 8.30 am) in most of the Polling Units. In some places such as Olorunda LGA, INEC Officials were said to have come to the polling units around 7am, accompanied with the Security Personnel.

Feedback from the field also indicates that Voting Procedure were explained to prospective voters in local language (Yoruba) at the Polling Units before commencement of election. Where the Presiding Officer could not speak Yoruba Language, a Security Personnel played that role. For instance , in Ojotu Area of Irepodun L.G.A, (Unit Code 001) a staff of the Nigerian Prison Service posted to the Polling Station, addressed the prospective voters on orderliness before Accreditation and Voting Commenced as well as helped to interpret the Voting Procedure for the INEC Presiding Officer who could not speak the native language.

3. Concerns of Persons with Disability (PWD) in Elections In Jagba Area, for instance, (Polling Unit Code 004) of Irepodun LGA, the Monitor saw a Physically Challenged person under a tree (not in the queue) and asked him why he was not making effort to vote. He responded that he was tired and could not stand. The Monitor urged him to go to the front in the queue; and watched to see what would happen. When he got there, he was allowed to vote. So it seems that PWDs are not aware of the provisions made to facilitate their access to exercise their right to vote. It therefore becomes important for CSOs, INEC and Political Parties to engage more with PWD Associations during voter education sessions to enable them realize their franchise. Monitors observed that Braille was available in few Poling Units with record of Registered Visually Impaired Person(s). It is important to adopt this deliberate and institutional initiative to aid all Persons with Disability to discharge their voting right during elections in consonance with intendment of UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Article 25 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights both underscore duty of the State to ensure that people entitled to vote are able to exercise that right freely. The NHRC therefore calls on Government to continue integration of Braille in Ballot- Papers during future election circles in Nigeria in order to be seen to encourage exercise of franchise by a significant population of Nigerians of Voting Age who are visually impaired. Similarly, Affirmative Actions to aid other clusters of disabled persons are also recommended.

4. Gender Perspective: Women Participation in Politics (voting) seems disproportionate to men. In many of the polling Units visited, the number of women who were seen on the queue was less than men. For instance, In Polling Unit 012 A in Ife Central LGA, the number of women seen on the queue was 56 whereas the Number of voters on the Register was 420. In Polling Unit Code 009 (AUD Primary) Irepodun LGA which had 451 Registered Voters, only 23 females were seen on the queue. Health Centre, Elerin Area (Polling Unit Code 008) had 462 registered voters while the number seen on the queue was barely above 50. On the other hand the numbers of men in all the places mentioned were comparatively higher. However, some Polling Units in Ifelodun LGA recorded appreciable number of women participation in the voting process. For example, in Polling Unit 06 (African Church Grammar School), monitors recorded that out of 933 registered voters, only about 200 women came out to vote. In CAC Grammar School, out of 578 registered voters, only about 100 female voters were seen.

The fact that women may have to vote and go home or stay at home to attend to domestic issues may explain the disparity. How to encourage more women to participate in politics in order to exercise the right to vote or be voted for, becomes an issue necessitating urgent attention.

5. Card Reader Concerns: Monitors observed cases of malfunctioning Card Reader or inability of Card Reader to capture finger prints of prospective voters. However, unlike in the past where there were allegations that such persons were not allowed to vote ,(so were disenfranchised), in the Osun Election , such cases of inability of Card Reader to authenticate prospective voters were resolved through Alternative Means of Verification. Such person could show his or her name/picture on the Voters List with corroboration by community members. In Polling Unit Code 008 (Health Centre, Elerin) Irepodun LGA, for instance, 63 prospective voters could not be authenticated by the Card Reader initially but subsequently authenticated. In most of the polling units covered, those whom the Card Reader couldn't authenticate after various attempts were verified manually and allowed to vote. If this measure was not adopted, many eligible voters would have been disenfranchised.

The initiative is therefore commendable to the extent that it encourages realization of franchise rather than denial of same.

6. Vote Buying: In comparison to the Ekiti Election, there was no Vote-Trading with impunity. There were however pockets of incidents of vote buying in Oshogbo town, Ife Central LGA -especially in Polling Units 012C and 012A where Vote-Trading was reported to the Security , but the suspects ran away before they could be apprehended. It was, however, noticed that most security personnel stood by and watched the fewer cases of vote trading seemed to see stopping same as not part of their mandate in the polling area.

7. Election Security Concerns: Feedback from Monitors reflect a liberal Security Arrangement during the Osun Election - devoid of intimidation of electorates or the non-voting population and without inhibiting other rights such as right to food. For instance , Monitors observed that pockets of kiosks and stores were open , selling some necessities, such as food , water , call -cards, snacks ; unlike in past elections where actual or perceived fear of molestation or forceful close of shops and alleged destruction of wares seemed prevalent . Monitors observed that generally Law Enforcement Officials on election duty demonstrated improved respect for human rights during the Osun State election. Cases of brutality or intimidation by the Security Officials, in relation to the election, have not been reported.

Conclusion: The elections were generally peaceful but still affected by the scourge of vote buying. This suggests additional security measures. Election Monitoring affords the Commission opportunity to evaluate gaps in human rights advancement in relation to election, as well as observe breach of same. This is in order to develop interventions which will reduce such infractions and ensure enhanced realization of the right to vote and be voted for during elections in Nigeria. NHRC hopes that this preliminary report will be useful to the citizenry and stakeholders in planning and executing future elections in Nigeria.

The Final Report will be released after the supplementary elections on Thursday, 27th September, 2018

Tony Ojukwu, Esq.

Executive Secretary

National Human Rights Commission

24th September, 2018


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OSUN STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION


PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC) INTRODUCTION:
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