The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) says data from its Election Analysis Centre (EAC) shows that 97 per cent of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) poll staff arrived polling units in Osun by 8:30 a.m.
Dr Ayomola Oluranti, an analyst at CDD-EAC and a Senior Lecturer at Babcock University, Ogun, made the disclosure in Abuja in centre’s first interim statement on the Osun Governorship Election on Saturday.
According to Oluranti, CDD-EAC deployed 300 trained and accredited observers to collect data on key aspects of voting and related processes.
She said that the objective was to determine through evidence-based analysis, the credibility of the election in meeting and satisfying canons of electoral integrity under Nigerian laws and international codes and standards.
Oluranti said that the data also showed that 79 per cent of INEC poll officers addressed voters before the 8:30 a.m. the official time for poll opening.
She said the data also indicated that there were critical election materials in at least 92 per cent of polling units.
“These are ballot papers, Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices, result sheets, ballot boxes and voter register. They were available for the conduct of the election – a marked improvement over 83 per cent recorded in Ekiti.
“CDD-EAC notes that INEC 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 (NURTW) in the INEC situation room in Osogbo to help address issues around the deployment of personnel and movement of voting materials,” she said.
Oluranti said that the commission conducted a mock accreditation exercise in Osogbo, Borife, Ede, and Egbedore to test the preparedness of its trained staff and the efficiency of the BVAS.
She said that the mock accreditation exercise carried out to know the readiness of the 5,306 BVAS machines appeared to have worked.
She added 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 a.m.
The analyst, however, said that CDD-EAC observers reported cases of political party agents campaigning and canvassing for votes near polling unit in 14 local government areas, which represented 9.6 per cent of the polling units observed.
Oluranti said that the acts, which contravened the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, were mostly reported by observers in Ife Central, Odo Otin, Osogbo, Oriade and Irepodun.
She added that CDD-EAC observers noticed unremoved campaign posters at some polling units, just as political party agents openly canvassed for votes.
She said that a number of fake news stories, misleading captions for images and sharing of dead online links were being used by some political actors to mislead voters.
“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, 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 Peoples Democratic Party Candidate, Ademola Adeleke had been sacked by a court,” she said.
Oluranti said that CDD-EAC fact checkers verified and found the claim to be false.
She added that CDD-EAC fact-checkers spotted a claim that a candidate was asking voters to swear that they would vote for him before he would pay them.
She said that 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,” she said.