FIDA Nigeria Post-Election Statement on the 2022 Osun State Governorship Election
The Osun Governorship Elections came to a conclusion as Nigeria’s Electoral Umpire the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the 17th day of July 2022 declared Senator Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party, the winner of the polls having secured the highest number of votes cast during the election.
INEC records already in the public domain confirm that Senator Ademola Adeleke through a total number of 403,371 votes defeated the other fourteen opponents to emerge as the winner of the election, placing the incumbent Governor Mr. Gboyega Oyetola on second place with a total of 375,027 votes.
It is important to note that democracy thrives when the security of life and property as well as the safety of the electorate, electoral officials, materials, and critical infrastructures are guaranteed before, during, and after elections. The outcomes of this election align with our preliminary statements/findings earlier presented which recorded that the elections were generally peaceful with adequate security and logistical arrangements provided by the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) well in place.
We commend eligible voters and all citizens of the state that participated actively in the process for their commitment and dedication to achieving a violent free election. We further commend INEC for the professionalism and dedication exhibited by most of her Adhoc staff which contributed to the early arrival of voting materials and personnel thus bringing credibility to the process. In addition, we commend the security agencies especially officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force for their dedication and commitment to free and fair elections.
FIDA Nigeria through her situation room situated in Oshogbo and Abuja respectively observed the participation of women and persons with disabilities during this Osun State Governorship Election which was held on Saturday 16th July 2022 through a network of her trained citizen observers deployed to monitor the process across the Local Government Areas of Osun State.
FIDA Nigeria with support from Goree Institute under the Charter Africa Project developed and deployed a monitoring tool via our trained citizen observers which were used in documenting election incidences and recording the participation of women and persons with disabilities during the election. Other information relating to election incidents is obtained from credible media sources and civil society actors respectively.
FIDA Nigeria’s Observations culminated in the dissemination of our pre-election statements on Thursday 14th and preliminary statements on Saturday 16th of July 2022. FIDA Nigeria through her observations provides a further post-election update on our findings as highlighted below:
2.1. Moderate Turnout of Voters:
FIDA Nigeria observed from INEC official results that 804,450 persons exercised their franchise at the polls from a total of 1.95 million registered voters across the state. This indicates that about 42.37% of registered voters actually participated in the polls with about 58.8% abstaining from the voting process. Comparatively the turnout is lower than in 2018, 2014, and 2003 Governorship Elections where about 45.74%, 53.14%, and 58.63% of the total voting population respectively exercised their franchise accordingly.
The implication of this outcome means that there needs to be an improved voter’s awareness strategy by all stakeholders towards ensuring an increase in the voting population even as confidence is gradually restored due to the impeccable performance of INEC and the existence of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
2.2. Close of Polls
FIDA Nigeria’s observers reported that at about 4 pm, 87% of polling units observed had concluded voting and counting of votes had either commenced or ended accordingly. However, about 13% of polling units visited still had the voting process ongoing after 4pm due to the late arrival of the electoral materials or malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine. For instance at polling unit 5, ward 4, Ede North LGA, voting was observed ongoing after the hours of 4pm, similarly, in some polling units across Irepodun LGA and polling unit 1, St Peter Primary School, Odo-Otin LGA, voting was observed ongoing even as polls ended across most polling units. On this outcome, we would clamor for more effective and efficient service delivery from INEC ahead of the next elections.
2.3. Presence of Political Party Agents in Polling Units.
FIDA Nigeria observed that 48% of the polling units observed had more than three (3), party agents, on ground, while 44% of polling units visited were observed to have had three (3) party agents, and 8% of polling units were observed to have had only two (2) party agents present at the polling units. Furthermore, political party agents were observed to not have engaged in an open campaign in at least 96% of the polling units we covered and were reported to have agreed with the sanctity of the process by signing the election results across all polling units covered by our observers. Similarly, our observers reported that election results were displayed across all polling units visited.
2.4. Secrecy of the Ballot
FIDA Nigeria observed that the ballot process was transparent and fair in 87% of polling units covered by our observers, while voters in more than 78% of the covering polling units voted in secrecy. Our observers reasonably noted the election was free and fair in polling units except with the incidents of vote buying occurring in 16% of the polling units by leading political parties between the sum of N2, 000 to N5000 respectively.
2.5. Presence of Security Personnel
Our observation recorded an adequate number of Security agents present in 84% of the polling units covered. Our findings revealed this proportion were unarmed with firearms, however, 16% were reportedly armed with firearms. Security personnel were further reported to have conducted themselves without partialism.
2.6. Priority Voting for Persons with Disabilities & Vulnerable Population
FIDA Nigeria observed that persons with disabilities, the elderly/aged, pregnant women, and nursing mothers were prioritized in the voting process by INEC Adhoc Officials. Our Observers reported that Persons living with disabilities were prioritized in at least 56% of the polling units. While only 32% of the polling units provided special kits for persons living with disabilities however 68% of the polling units did not make such provisions. For instance, a gentleman living with albinism used a magnifying glass provided by INEC, to search for his name on the Register of Voters and subsequently casted his vote at Polling Unit 14, Ward 7, Ede North LGA.
Similarly, in polling unit 004, ward 10, Ife Central LGA, nursing mothers, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities were prioritized thus exercising their franchise speedily. At polling unit 003, ward 1, Olorunda LGA, pregnant women and the Elderly were prioritized by Electoral Officials. Furthermore, at Polling Unit 23, Ward 5, Oshogbo LGA, Pregnant women & the Elderly were prioritized accordingly. However, at polling unit 12, Ward 2, Ife North LGA, only persons with disabilities were prioritized while at Polling Unit 02, Ward 4, Oshogbo LGA, we observed that there was no preference for women, the aged, and persons with disabilities. Generally, 80% of the polling units prioritized pregnant women, the elderly, and nursing mothers.
In view of our pre-election, preliminary, and post-election observations/findings during the election, FIDA Nigeria recommends the following to deepen the electoral process in Nigeria ahead of the general elections in 2023:
- Prosecution of electoral offenders reported to have committed all forms of electoral offenses in contravention to the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) to serve as a deterrent to others.
- We observed that only 32% of the polling units as reported had in place special kits for persons living with disabilities however 68% of the polling units did not have any such provisions. Based on these findings, INEC should put in place the electoral needs of persons with disabilities to aid their full participation in future elections in Nigeria. This can be achieved through, for example, the provision of adequate sensitive materials such as braille for voters who have visual impairments.
- Train and retrain electoral officers and ad-hoc staff to enable them to deliver services that are adequate to the changing needs of the electorates in Nigeria.
- For future elections in Osun state and given the persistent below-average voter turnout in the last two Governorship Elections (2018, & 2022), We urge INEC to embark on high-level dialogues with key stakeholders including traditional and religious leaders towards encouraging the participation of more female electorates, persons with disability, and citizens, in general, in exercising their franchise at subsequent elections.
3.2. Security Agencies
- FIDA Nigeria is calling on all security agencies deployed for election duty to arrest and investigate all persons involved in acts of vote buying reported in different parts of the state for prosecution;
- A continuous need to adhere to the principles of impartiality and neutrality toward securing the polls which will in turn mitigate violence perpetuated during elections especially those targeted at women.
3.3. Politicians and Political Parties
i) Should maintain peace and be magnanimous in victory.
ii) They should work with all Osun citizens including those in the opposition parties to improve the governance of the state.
- Should desist from the production of sensational headlines and hate speeches that contribute to increased tension before, during, and after elections;
- Should verify and fact-check all information received before disseminating it to the public.
- They should remain professional, neutral, and non-partisan in the discharge of duties.
Long Live Osun State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Amina Agbaje (Mrs)
Country Vice President/National President.