CLEEN FOUNDATION PRE-ELECTION STATEMENT ON THE 2022 EKITI STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION
The Election Security Support Centre (ESSC) of CLEEN Foundation will be observing the conduct of security agencies deployed on election duty and other related incidences for the Ekiti State Governorship Election holding on Saturday 18th June 2022. CLEEN Foundation will deploy thirty-two (32) Citizen Observers across the sixteen (16) Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state to observe the conduct of security personnel deployed on election duty.
CLEEN Foundation Election Security Threat Assessment (ESTA) findings indicate high expectations of peaceful elections in thirteen (13) out of the sixteen (16) LGAs of the state, with an aggregate approval rating of 84.8%. However, CLEEN also observed indicators that could engender violence in the election as shown on the ESTA findings. These findings in their order of ranking include; partiality of security agents (78.1%), activities of party thugs (81.8%), the prevalence of misinformation and fake news (78.1%), aggressive and excessive use of force (77.2%), the partiality of electoral officials (76.8%), widespread availability and use of hard drugs (76.7%), undue influence of money (73.3%), broadcasting and publishing of hate speech (71.4%), inadequacy or excessive presence of security agents (71.1%), and poor training and low professionalism of security agents (70.1%). These are the most critical factors that could trigger violence in the governorship election, each with an aggregate score of above 70%.
Other electoral risk factors identified in our Security Threat Assessment include exclusion of ethnic groups (68.1%) and failure to prosecute electoral offenders (68.1%), abuse of social media (68%) and underage voting (68%), problems associated with registration and accreditation devices (67.1%) and partisanship, favouritism, partiality and sensationalism of the press (67.1%), activities of immigrants and unregistered voters (65.7%), the conduct of party agents (64.4%), failure of regulatory bodies to enforce media regulations (63.3%), problems associated with continuous voter registration (63%), citizens disaffection with government (62.8%), lack of synergy among security agents (62.2%), activities of religious extremists, cultists, armed groups and ritualists (62.1%), the partiality or impartiality of the judiciary (61.8%), the poor synergy between INEC and security agents (61.2%) and miscarriage of justice (61.1%). All these factors carried an aggregate score of between 60% and 69% respectively.
The Foundation also observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has put in place measures to address logistics and operational challenges experienced in previous elections as the deployment of non-sensitive materials has since commenced while sensitive materials will be on the ground on Friday 17th June 2022. We commend INEC for considering key recommendations from stakeholders such as the conduct of mock accreditation in selected local government areas to test the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). This goes a long way in instilling public confidence in the process in line with democratic values.
As we countdown to the June 18th 2022 Ekiti Governorship Election, CLEEN Foundation calls on all stakeholders, particularly INEC, political parties, media, CSOs, observer groups (Domestic and International), and the electorates to play by the rules as set out by INEC. Efforts should be made to educate and sensitize the citizens on the need to eschew all forms of violence in the election, especially with the rise of hate and insightful speeches.
In view of the foregoing, CLEEN Foundation recommends that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Security agencies should prioritise the welfare and professionalism of the personnel deployed on election duty. Issues of logistics, timeliness and adequacy of deployment are of critical significance to the success of an election. Election security cannot be handled with conventional security approaches. Thus, for it to be effective, there must be a collaboration with other stakeholders especially INEC, political parties and civil society organizations. Synergy among these agencies is imperative to the peaceful outcomes of the election.
The Election Security Support Centre (ESSC) of CLEEN Foundation will continue to observe the election in real-time and will release detailed preliminary and post-election statements on its observations. We enjoin INEC, the Law Enforcement and Security agents to maintain the highest level of professionalism in their conduct by guarding against any form of compromise that could scuttle the democratic process. We encourage registered voters to go out and exercise their franchise towards a free, fair and credible election.
God bless Ekiti State,
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ag. Executive Director