Some Civil Society Organizations have listed some of the challenges that may likely undermine the credibility of the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State.
The CSOs said challenges such as high level of violence, voters’ apathy, poor participation by marginalized groups and insecurity which characterised the just concluded Local Government election in the state has created a tense environment ahead of the governorship poll.
The groups which include Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), Ondo state Development Forum, EyeMax Care Foundation, Centre for Environment and Community Development, Knowledge and Care Providers, and 17 others met in a roundtable discussion organised in the state on Thursday.
In a communique made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, the CSOs disclosed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must intensify voters’ education to avoid irregularities in the governorship election.
Speaking on the recently concluded election, they said “every participant, stakeholders and political actors came to the poll with different agenda and this majorly led to the spike in violence”.
“There is a growing fear of stockpiling of arms ahead of the election, there have been cases of rival partisan camps openly displaying arms or engaging in exchange of gunfire just to show that they also have access to firearms – a means of pressing opponents. Most times they do this in the presence of Police officers who serve as aides to the political actors”
The CSOs claimed that INEC has also failed to engage them plans for the Ondo election especially with the new guidelines released on the conduct of election in a COVID-19 pandemic situation.
They, however, noted that the electoral body should “do a comprehensive security risk assessment to identify areas with high risks of security challenges, intensify voters’ education to reduce voter apathy, ensure that all sensitive and insensitive materials arrive the polling unit on time and sensitize its own staff while ridding the commission of the bad eggs.”
The groups enjoined political parties to play their roles at the polling units, and collation centres.
“Women already in position of power should mentor other women and encourage participation in politics and work towards forming their own political parties to end the negative narratives of tagging them as prostitutes or wayward for participating in politics,” the communique read.