By RUTH OKETUNDE
ABUJA- The Women Situation Room on the just-concluded governorship election in Ekiti State has released its preliminary findings on the election, affirming there was massive vote-buying during the poll.
The Convener of the Women Situation Room Nigeria (WSRN), Prof. Joy Onyesoh, assessed the situation in a preliminary report made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.
“Vote-buying was the order of the day in all the LGAs and polling units as reported by our observers and in few cases this led to physical violence which were resolved by the security agencies.
“In Ado-Ekiti LGA Ward 13, Unit 11, our observers reported on a man being picked by operatives of the Department of State Security Services on grounds of vote- buying,’’ Onyesoh stated.
The report, however, indicated good participation of women in the electoral process, saying that in as much as specific reports of violence against women were not reported, “we observed in few polling units some forms of violence.
“An instance was identified in Ado-Ekiti Ward 7, Unit 2 where we saw a large crowd of close to 2,000 persons and women being pushed while voters were struggling to vote, due to the extended time it took to attend to the large number of voters with just one BVAS.
“There were reports of physical violence in Ado-Ekiti LGA Ward 9, Unit 13 in Ifelodun LGA, Ward 9, Unit 6 and in Moba LGA Unit -9, Ward 1.’’
Citing reports from field observers of the group, Onyesoh said that 45 per cent of polling units were not easily accessible to persons living with disabilities.
“Most of the polling units were placed on high areas with little or no provisions for people such as those with hearing impairments and the visually impaired.
The group noted that out of a total population of 3,270,800 citizens in Ekiti, INEC registered 989,202 for the elections while 720,745 of the number collected their PVCs.
“From the total number of voters, just over 360,000 were said to have voted in the elections,’’ the WSRN convener said.
Onyesoh said: “We got feedbacks from the observers of 90 per cent functionality of the BVAS and the few cases of malfunction were immediately handled by the INEC team.
“Another incident we identified with the use of the BVAS was in Moba LGA, Unit 5, Ward 1, the INEC team was using the BVAS to scan just the PVC which was not bringing up details of the voters, hence disenfranchising many.’’
She disclosed that WSRN observers also reported late arrival of security agencies in some polling units, including Ise/Orun LGA Ward 4, Unit 1, Ekiti East Ward 2, Unit 6 and Ekiti West Ward 2, Unit 19.
“Additionally, at the time of the commencement of elections in these LGAs, the report from our observers was that security agencies were not present.’’
The Ekiti governorship election, which was won by Mr Biodun Oyebanji of the All Progressives Congress, was held on June 18.
He polled 187,057 votes, defeating his closest challenger, Mr Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party, who got 82,211 votes. (NAN)