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Osun Governorship Re-run: Eye Witness Report

As a result of alleged irregularities that marred the Osun state governorship election, particularly at some polling units in Ife North, Ife South and Orolu local government areas, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the election inconclusive and conducted a run on September 27, 2018.

On the Osun state governorship re-run election, both local and international observers say the exercise was marred by irregularities and was characterized by intimidation of voters, media and observers.

For instance, observers’ say despite being duly accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), several of them and some journalists were stopped from observing the process, with Orolu and Osogbo Local Government Areas recording the worse cases.

Worse still some of the observers who insisted on observing the process were arrested and taken to police station where they were detained and released after the voting process.

Journalists at various polling stations confirmed that reporters and observers were denied access into some voting areas and some who tried to take pictures of the exercise were either arrested or had their equipment confiscated by the police.

For instance, Mr. Kemi Busari, a Premium Times reporter was arrested and detained for snapping photographs at polling unit, while thugs confiscated a phone belonging to Taiwo Adebulu, a journalist with TheCable.

Rukayat Ahmodu, CLEEN foundation observer narrated how she and other observers were stopped from observing the process by the security personnel. “We got to the polling unit at 6:30 am, they took us to the police station and later brought us to a junction. They said we are not allowed inside the centres,” she said.

Osun State Broadcasting Cooperation (OSBC) reporter, TosinOladokun, and Kaftan Television crew led by Jude Ochinma were reportedly attacked by suspected hoodlums in Ward 5 Alekuwodo, Osogbo.

Osun chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Acting Chairman, Kehinde Ayantunji, who was at the polling unit at the time of the attack confirmed the incident to a Thisday newspaper.

Foreign observers, the US, UK and EU who observed the process faulted the credibility of the election. They said, they witnessed “incidents of interference and intimidation of voters”.

John Bray, US consul general, told journalists in Osogbo, the Osun state capital, that the missions were concerned about the huge irregularities recorded at the exercise.

The Nigeria election management body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in an official statement via its tweeter handle, confirmed attacks on journalists and observers and condemned the act. We are worried at the development in Osun, and we condemn stopping observers and journalists from observing the process.

Liberty Oseni, CLEEN Foundation 

 

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