The Centre for Democracy and DevelopmentEdo election relatively credible – CDD, Yiaga (CDD) has said that the October 10 governorship in Ondo State could be marred by violence, especially in riverine areas of the state.
The civil society organization in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES and signed by its Director, Idayat Hassan, on Tuesday also said pre-election assessment by the CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC) shows that the partisanship of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the motorcyclists association could also pose challenges and logistics problems.
The group said it observed “increase in the activities of armed non-state actors, particularly militants and pirates in riverine areas of the state. These armed groups have a history of making the creek areas ungovernable and have strong links with wider networks of militants in the Niger-Delta. Our observers have also reported the influx of arms and armed non-state actors in the state.
“Since political campaigns began, CDD has been monitoring news reports to document and analyse the pre-election environment. The Centre observes an upsurge of political tensions in at least 11 of the 18 local government areas of the State with several reported cases of election-related violence.
“A trend analysis of data gathered so far indicates that group clashes, attacks on party secretariat and political rallies and campaigns by thugs and party supporters escalated in most LGAs across the State with the highest number of cases reported in Akure South and Idanre LGAs.
“Of the 34 incidents of electoral violence reported between August and early October 2020, at least 12 cases of clashes during campaigns were reported. While these early warning signs are not definite indicators to give 100 percent certainty that there will be violence in the areas highlighted, they nonetheless call for a strategic deployment of security.
Ms Hassan expressed worry over the partisan interest of NURTW members.
“Incidentally, the NURTW is the body INEC relies on for transportation of electoral materials. This may create a problem for INEC in the area of getting materials to all voting areas in the state.”
The NURTW is the major union of transport workers and commercial vehicle owners in Nigeria. It has played major roles in assisting INEC with the distribution of materials for previous elections in different states.
The CDD said its pre-assessment of the poll revealed that citizens are demanding good governance through various debates on issues directly affecting their everyday living conditions.
“It is refreshing to see citizens using the electoral process as a basis to institutionalise democratic accountability. As a matter of fact, CDD projects that the role of fake news and misinformation in the Ondo election will be relatively low compared to other states, partly because citizens are busy interrogating core governance issues.”
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