A political think tank under the aegis of the Centre for Democracy and Development, on Saturday, released a preliminary report on the Osun State governorship election which identified the presence and use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System in almost all the polling units in the state.
The organisation, in the report, also said it observed the early arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and commencement of voting in the polling units by 8:30 am.
The Chairman of the CDD Election Analysis Centre, Prof. Adele Jinadu, stated this while presenting the report on the Osun governorship election in Abuja.
According to him, the organisation deployed 300 trained and accredited observers, adding that data indicated that in at least 92 per cent of polling units observed, critical election materials like ballot papers, BVAS devices, results’ sheets, ballot boxes and the voter register were available for the conduct of the election, a marked improvement over the 83 per cent recorded in Ekiti.
He said, “(The) CDD-EAC notes that the Independent National Electoral Commission took some steps to address some of the gaps identified in the Ekiti State governorship election last month. INEC has embedded officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers in the INEC situation room in Osogbo to help address issues around the deployment of personnel and movement of voting materials.
“The commission similarly conducted mock accreditation exercises in Osogbo, Borife, Ede, and Egbedore to test the preparedness of the trained staff and the efficiency of the BVAS.
“The mock accreditation exercise carried out by INEC to ensure the readiness of the 5,306 BVAS machines appears to have worked, with the CDD-EAC officials noting that there was a BVAS machine and compliance in 99 per cent of the polling units visited, with two polling units in Ife Central and Irepodun reporting the absence of BVAS machines at 9:30 am.”
The organisation further noted reported cases of political party agents campaigning and canvassing for votes near the polling unit in 14 LGAs, which represents 9.6 per cent of the polling units observed.
The report said, “These acts, which contravene the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, were mostly reported by observers in Ife Central, Odo Otin, Osogbo, Oriade and Irepodun. The CDD-EAC observers also reported seeing unremoved campaign posters at some polling units, just as political party agents openly canvassed for votes.
“The CDD-EAC Fake News Hub for the July 16, Osun State Governorship election has been closely watching online and offline spaces with the objective of tracking and fact-checking fake news and misinformation. A number of fake news stories, misleading captions for images, and the sharing of dead online links are being used by partisan actors to mislead voters or to possibly depress the vote in areas in which the political opposition is perceived to have some strengths.
“The CDD-EAC fact-checkers have also documented claims and counter-claims by political actors over allegations of vote-buying.
“Using online tools, and a range of verification techniques, the CDD-EAC fact-checkers have been working to independently fact-check online and offline misinformation capable of undermining voter confidence. One of the major fake news stories, which began trending as voters headed to the polls this morning, is the claim that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ademola Adeleke, had been sacked by a court. The CDD-EAC fact-checkers verified and found this claim to be false. The CDD-EAC fact-checkers also spotted a claim that one of the major opposition parties’ candidates was asking voters to swear an oath that voters voted for him before he would pay them.
“The CDD-EAC fact-checkers found nothing on the circulated image to lend credence to the claim. Our fact-checkers also noted that the image, which was circulated to make the claim, was taken at the point the candidate was casting his vote.”