|Voting In Progress During The Election|
The Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM) as a foremost human rights and civil society organization in fulfillment of its statutory responsibility to humanity and the good people of Nigeria performed its societal obligation of monitoring the just concluded local government elections in Ogun state held on the 21st July 2012.
CPPM personnel were trained by our sister organization, the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) in the act of observing elections and thus were deployed to cover the elections in both Ado Odo Ota and Ifo Lg’s in Ogun state on the day of the election.
Our observers arrived early enough at 7.00am at the Local government headquarters of both LG’s to observe the distribution of election materials to the various wards by the Electoral Officers (EO’s) in the full presence of party agents, observers, media and security men who were all satisfied with the process which was concluded before 8.00am.
CPPM also monitored the distribution of election materials from the various wards levels to the polling units from about 8.00am – 9.32am also in the presence of party agents, poll observers, security personnel in the two LG’s (Ado Odo Ota & Ifo) which were concluded to the satisfaction of all.
Actual accreditation took place in most polling stations observed in the 2 LG’s from between 9.00am – 12.30pm and we observed that in most polling stations, there were only party agents of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as well as security agents and we observed that the process went on smoothly to the satisfaction of all the stakeholder including the electorates.
We also observed that voting materials were adequate and voting proper started in most polling units in the LG’s at about 12.35pm after the conclusion of accreditation which was announced publicly. Voting was done by secret ballot in which the voters voted in secret and dropped the ballot papers in the ballot box which was displayed in the open. Voting ended in CPPM observed polling units at 3.00pm, after which the ballot papers were counted and results announced publicly for onward transmission to the ward level for collation.
CPPM observed the elections in most polling units in both LG’s and was very satisfied with the conduct of the election officials as well as the party agents and the security personnel who were fully on ground to curtail any crisis. We once again commend the deployment of the security agencies who enforced the restriction order on people as a security check which contributed in no small way to the peaceful conduct of the elections in Ado Odo Ota and Ifo LG’s.
But we observed that the election was not without its shortcoming, such as missing names on voters register, far distance of polling units from residential neighbourhoods, poor delineation of wards and polling units which disenfranchised a lot of voters due to no fault of Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission since they worked with what they got from the National Umpire (INEC). A lot of voters were disenfranchised in both LG’s which now has a huge population due to the influx from Lagos State. A lot of newly developed towns in Ado Odo Ota such as the whole area housing Bells schools, Ota didn’t have a single polling unit, the same fate befell the area opposite Canaan Land, the polling units in Iyana Iyesi were inadequate for the population and they were not properly spread. In Ifo Lg, a lot of new towns with a sizeable population have developed such as Alaja, paramount, etc which didn’t have polling units and so the people were disenfranchised. These were the major shortcoming of the exercise which ought to be looked into with a view to preventing a reoccurrence.
Generally the Ogun State Local Government election held on July 21st 2012 in the two aforementioned LG’s were transparent, peaceful, fair and credible by all democratic standards as the electorate exercised their franchise without fear or intimidation.
On the whole, CPPM commends the good people of Ogun state for a fair turnout of voters, the security agencies, OGSIEC officials, observers and the media for a job well done in the coverage of an election in which the conduct of the stakeholders was a marked improvement even over the conduct of the 2011 general elections.