The Nigerian Bar Association is deploying a total of 40 observers for Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State.
The observers are drawn from the Election Working Group, EWG, of the association as well as its local branches in the southwest states.
This is contained in a press statement jointly signed by EWG chairman, Dafe Akpedeye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and the Alternate Chairman, Reuben James on Friday in Osogbo, the Osun State Capital.
The NBA EWG is one of the 29 Domestic and International Observers accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to observe today’s election.
The group said its observers would cover the 30 local governments in the state.
Stating that it had successfully observed past elections, including last June governorship election in Ekiti State, the NBA EWG said the observers had been adequately trained for Saturday’s election and that as usual it would make its report public after the poll.
“INEC has accredited 29 Domestics and International Observers Groups to observe the Osun State Gubernatorial Election of August 9, 2014, of which the NBA Election Working Group is one,” the statement said.
“The Commission has also conducted training for the election observers and the NBA Election Working Group was represented at the training.
“The NBA Election Working Group will be engaging all the local branches of the NBA in Osun State to observe the elections. In all, the NBA will deploy a total of 40 observers in the 30 local government areas of Osun State to observe the election.”
The NBA EWG urged the people of Osun State to come out enmasse to vote for their preferred governorship candidate and that security had been adequately provided, as promised by the Nigerian government and the police, to protect anybody from being harassed. It also asked the voters to conduct be peaceful during the exercise.
According to the group, “Prior to this election, the various security agencies have carried intensive surveillance and patrols in the state.
The intensive patrols and surveillance by the security agencies will rekindle the confidence of the people and reassured them that lives and properties will be protected on the Election Day.
“Both the president and the acting Inspector General of Police,
Suleiman Abba, have promised to provide necessary security in the state during the election. INEC is also working in collaboration with the security agencies to create a level-playing ground for all the stakeholders.”
The group, however, lamented the “ugly side of Osun politics,” particularly between the two major parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the electioneering campaign and that it had dominated discourse in recent times.
It also noted that there had been campaigns of calumny among parties and candidates, and that bickering, mud-slinging and character assassination as opposed to issue based campaigns, had become the order of the day.
It, however, expressed joy that at different meetings, especially those with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, leaders of the parties pledged to ensure free, fair and credible election, come Saturday.
“To assure the people of Osun of this, the parties should match their vows with action. The 20 parties and their candidates should ensure that the poll is free. Mud-slinging and character assassination is certainly not the path to credible and rancour-free election,” the NBA EWG said.
“The people of Osun must get up and be counted. The good people of the state who undoubtedly are in the majority must rise up and say no to the minority few that gives Osun State a bad name.”
The group also regretted that over the years, Nigerian elections had been fraught with lack of transparency associated with the use of violence, thuggery, hijacking and illegal seizures of ballot boxes, inflation of election results at collation centers, voting by unregistered persons, refusal to conduct elections at certifiedpolling stations and the creation of illegal polling stations at unrecognized venues.
“The method of rigging election is inexhaustible for no sooner had the legislature plugged existing loopholes in new legislation than election riggers would have invented new means of circumventing the new laws,” it said.