Yiaga Africa, a civil society organisation, has urged losers in the Ondo State governorship election of last Saturday to accept defeat.
The winner of the election, the incumbent Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, defeated his closest challenger by a wide margin.
Mr Akeredolu won in 15 of the state’s 18 local government areas, defeating his deputy and candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, Agboola Ajayi, and the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Eyitayo Jegede.
Although largely peaceful, the election was characterised vote-buying, violation of COVID-19 safety protocols and the complacency of security officers, PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported.
In its post-election report, Yiaga Africa called on the winning candidate and his supporters to be magnanimous in victory.
Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) deployed its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to ensure the integrity and sanctity of the ballot were protected and guaranteed.
The report was signed by the two Co-chairs of the Yiaga Africa WTV Working Group, Aisha Abdullahi and Ezenwa Nwagwu.
“For those candidates who did not win, we urge them to accept the results because they reflect the votes cast. Yiaga Africa calls upon all candidates, all parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain the peace,” the group advised.
The group noted the significant improvement in INEC’s management of election logistics and commended the electorate for their resilience and peaceful conduct during the voting, counting and result collation process.
“Given the significant rate of procedural infractions around counting of spoilt and counterfoil ballot paper, Yiaga Africa recommends better training for election day INEC ad-hoc officials. While these infractions do not undermine the integrity of the process, they are a sign that election day officials’ training can be improved.”
“Yiaga Africa commends INEC for its efforts to improve on the election day process and efforts to comply with the COVID-19 protocol with respect to providing disinfectant/hand sanitizers in all polling units.”
In a similar vein, the group demanded INEC to conduct a post-election audit on both the Edo and Ondo governorship elections in order to enable the Commission to assess its performance, identify operational areas for improvement and drive policy reforms to effectively plan for future elections.
” The National Assembly should accelerate reforms to the Electoral Act to legalize the effective deployment of technological tools to promote citizen’s participation and enhance transparency in the electoral process,” the report read.