Bayelsa poll: Observers score conduct low

A coalition of civil society organisations, Advocacy for Good Governance, accredited to observe last Saturday’s gubernatorial election in Bayelsa state, has said that the “conduct of the election failed to comply substantially with the provisions of the Electoral laws and fell short of required international best practices.”

This was contained in the report signed by representatives of the six

organisations: Amb. Marian Mpobo (Womenfest for Betterlife Living Initiative), Beardford Benjamin (Society for Advancement for credible leadership, ideas and observation), Etus Williams Obeten (Centre for Positive Change and Civic Responsibility), Samuel Hanson (Human Right Monitors), Ike Maduka (Advocacy for People’s Right and Justice) and Joshua Akpan (Grassroots Empowerment Initiative for Positive Change).

They said the election was far from being “transparent, free and credible following all the irregularities and malpractices that greeted the poll in many places.”

The coalition also noted the “interference of security  agencies in the electoral process coupled with intimidation and harassment of voters by political thugs to vote in favour of a certain political party.”

The report read in part: “It was observed that large number of polling units witnessed late arrival of INEC materials and some did not arrive at all in some polling units visited, as they were either hijacked or diverted to private houses for thumb-printing. Moreover, collations of results were done mostly in private residents especially in the riverine areas. This provided opportunity and loopholes for manipulation of the result. The security agents either escorted the materials to the wrong places or give coverage for those that were falsifying records.”

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