Godfathers, others heightened tension in Edo – Poll observers

International observers have said the godfatherism syndrome and other undemocratic factors heightened tension in Edo State during the July 14 governorship election in the state.

National Human Rights Commission, United Nations Development Project and Democratic Governance for Development said this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.

At the event, both the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Prof. Bem Angwe; and a DGD expert on democratic governance, Mr. Bodunrin Adebo, called on the authorities to “apply the same process used in Edo and showcase to the world that credible election is possible in Nigeria”.

The Director of Legal Services and Enforcement in NHRC/Project Coordinator, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, in his presentation on behalf of the election observers, said the 2012 Edo State Election Security Project was an intervention by the commission in collaboration with the UNDP/DGD to strengthen the capacity of security personnel and monitors.

He said, “The commission carried out pre-election security assessment of Edo State from July 5 to 10. The assessment confirmed deep-rooted rivalry among the political parties and the tendency for election violence at the usual hot spots in Edo State.

“The influence of the traditional institution, the godfatherism syndrome, suspicion of partiality on the part of the Independent Electoral Commission, all contributed to heighten tension in Edo State. The NHRC therefore recommended the beefing up of security in all polling stations and the identified hot spots to forestall violence.”

The observers also commended security operatives for their roles during the poll.

Ojukwu said, “Overall conduct was rated to be good (74 per cent) and very good (80 per cent). The friendly disposition of security officials was noticeable in most of the polling units with observers recording that they found the security officials approachable (62 per cent) while 32 per cent was analysed as very approachable.

“Voters were perceived to have felt safe and secured in most of the polling units (64 per cent) while 23 per cent of the polling stations were considered very safe and secure. zero per cent of polling units was considered ‘not safe and secure at all.”



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