The group said the Ekiti elections were an improvement on the Anambra elections.
The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of more than 60 civic organisations, has given a pass mark to Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Ekiti.
The group described the elections as “a significant shift away from the irregularities and logistical failings that have consistently characterised previous elections” in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the group, its observers, spread across the 16 local governments of the state, reported a marked improvement by INEC in the management of the electoral processes and the outcomes of the poll.
The coalition stated that there was a timely arrival of voting materials and early accreditation of voters in over 90 per cent of the polling units. They also stated that in most places the voting process was transparent and fair.
“The improved logistics ensured that the trained ad-hoc personnel were stationed in place to guarantee that most polling units were open at the proper commencement time of 8.00am. This had the positive consequential effect of ensuring that actual voting also started promptly at noon for most of the polling stations visited,” the statement read.
It also praised security agents, especially police officers, for conducting themselves responsibly and professionally. According to the Situation Room, this helped in enhancing the integrity of the electoral environment.
“It was widely observed that the elections were conducted in an atmosphere of relative calm and peace, with very few incidences of the breach of the peace,” the group said.
The coalition, however, said the large deployment of security operative during the election could have been better done.
“The Situation Room however expresses some concern with the considerable large contingent of multi-agency security agencies, led by the 12,000 policemen deployed; and coordination between the security agencies involved with the election. Even so there were reports of some polling stations not having the required security presence, raising some questions about the deployment plans of such a large contingent,” it said.
It also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to address the report about the inability of some willing voters to cast their votes because their names were missing from the electronic register.
“These minor incidents fall within a marginal percentage of error and in no way affected the overall quality of the elections, which can be regarded as a credible process; markedly, an improvement on the conduct of the recent Anambra State governorship elections. The Situation Room also wishes to acknowledge the patience and restraint of the people of Ekiti State whose collective commitment to democratic principles ensured that this election was conducted in an orderly and peaceful manner,” it said.
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