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Ondo Election Free, Peaceful- Observers

A coalition of domestic accredited observers for last Saturday governorship election in Ondo has described the election as peaceful, free, fair, and credible.

The observers said the conduct of the election was satisfactory and best in recent times.

Speaking at a briefing in Akure, the Ondo state capital, spokesman for the observers, Prince Stafford Bisong, said the voters must be commended for displaying maturity and maintaining peace during the conduct of the election.

Bisong, who said there were reported cases of vote-buying and intimidation of voters in some areas, hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting an acceptable election.

He said:

“Our observers reported that sensitive and non- sensitive materials arrived early as 7:30 am in approximately 95 percent of the polling units across the state making it a great improvement from the Edo state election. Great work in logistics by INEC.

“In as much as we give kudos to security personnel deployed across the polling units for the efficient response in curbing violent situations, we, however, frown at their compromise in working with party agents to perpetrate vote-buying.

“One wrong that was evident on the day of the election was vote-buying in virtually 85 percent of the polling units across the state, even in the presence of security personnel.

“The problems have become a recurring challenge in virtually every one of our elections and it is a puzzle that will continue to undermine the credibility of our elections and democratic process.

“This is not acceptable and it is a practice that must be stopped for the benefit of outgrowing democracy. We implore Nigerian police and other security to be more professional in their conduct during election duties.

“We appreciate INEC for conducting one of the freest election in Ondo state. We adjudged the election to be free and credible.

“The INEC has declared Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the winner of the last Saturday election for a second term of four years”.