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Ondo Decides 2020: NCFront, Coalition of Observers want peaceful and credible conduct of Ondo Decides 2020 sustained






….Bemoans Card Readers hitches and Poor Compliance to Covid 19 Protocols in the Elections




DATE: Sunday, 10th October, 2020





The October 10th 2020 Ondo State gubernatorial election held as scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was contested by 17 political parties in the 18 local government Areas, spread across three (3) senatorial districts of the state. However, the race to Alagbaka Government House is widely seen a three horse race among three (3) candidates from the three (3) senatorial districts and three (3) major political parties in the State i.e APC, PDP and ZLP


NCFront leading a coalition of allied accredited groups, deployed over three hundred (300) Observers, after proper training and orientation to observe and provide real-time pre, election and post election reports. Therefore having earlier issued a preliminary Statement, on the Ondo Decides 2020, hereby wishes to present the final report as follow:


NCFront, first and foremost, observed the patience and resilience of the people of Ondo State to exercise their franchise, despite the heavy down pour that almost marred the voting process, creating hiccups in some polling units. The security agencies, especially the police, were fair, but firmer in discharging their duties during this exercise, a conduct which was sustained throughout the entire process of counting, collation, transmission, and announcement of the election results.




NCFront observers flagged poor adherence to the laid down guidelines of INEC on COVID-19 during the election. In most areas visited, voters obeyed INEC COVID-19 protocols, in breach. However, INEC, made adequate provision for hand sanitizers and infra-red thermometers which were used in the polling units visited. There was also, zero compliance to physical/social distancing guidelines, while 25% of the voters observed did not wear their face masks. Others put them in their pockets/bags and some wore them on their chins.




The election came with a lot of euphoria to the people of Ondo State as the electorate came out in their numbers to cast their ballots. In most of the polling units visited, we saw young men and women, the aged, Persons With Disabilities and nursing mothers expressing eagerness to cast their votes even in the rain.




NCFront applauds INEC logistics arrangement compared to the recent Edo State governorship election. There was timely deployment of sensitive and non-sensitive materials. Most polling units (PUs) visited opened before 8:00am. Reports across the state indicated that the average time for the commencement of voting was about 8:30am. It was however, observed that there was no adequate arrangement for people living with disability in terms of structure, facilities and location of the poling boots and placement of sensitive materials.




In most of the PUs visited, set up was concluded before 8:30am. The Polling Officers started by briefing all voters on the processes and procedures that will be adhered to both in English and Yoruba Languages. It was generally observed that voting and accreditation took place simultaneously as stipulated by INEC. The exercise however ended once the last person on the queue voted. Elderly people, pregnant women, people living with disability and nursing mothers were given priority during the accreditation and voting process.


In ward 02, Gbogi/Isikan 1, PU 006 at Coop consumer building, opposite coop motel, setup was completed as at 8.00am and voting started as exactly 8.30am. Similarly, in ward 02, Gbogi/Isikan 1, PU 035 Owonifari, Isikan Market; ward 02, Gbogi/Isikan 1, PU 018, Ajebamidele, Near onyearugbulem junction; ward 09, Oba-Ile, PU 006, OSRC I, II and III post office; ward 09, Oba-Ile, PU 010, Owode camp, ward 09, Oba-Ile, PU 007, opposite OSRC junction; ward 09, Oba-Ile, PU 002 second gate; ward 04 Ijomu/Obanla, PU 001 Obanla-CSS bookshop; ward 10 Ohodi/Isolo, PU 006 slaughter slab; ward 2 ogbogi/Isikan 1, PU 010, sacred heart primary school II setup were completed on time and voting commenced at 8.30am.


However, in registration area 02, Gbogi/Isikan 1, PU 014-Old Emprem Hotel (CAC area), Akure South, setup was still on going as at 8.30am. The Polling Officer reported that they had a little hitch in their logistics arrangement.






NCFront Situation Room received reports of vote buying from Ijomu, Akure South LGA, Ose, Ondo West, Ilaje, and Akure North. Across several polling units, the secrecy of the ballot was somewhat compromised despite attempts by polling officials to prevent voters and party agents from showing how ballot papers were marked. Some people were seen making signs and eye contacts. Law enforcement agents made no serious attempt to discourage this anomaly or to reprimand the culprits.


At St Paul’s Primary School, Oluwu, Arewa III, Code 015, of Lodasa Iparuku/Likoja Ward in Ondo West, votes were traded for money as voters showed how they voted to party agents before casting their ballots. In St. Paul’s Anglican Primary School, 001 of Ifon 1 ward in Ose LGA, party agents accompanied voters to the voting cubicle to see how they marked their ballots. In Ajegunle Erumana LA School 012 of Aheri Ward, Ilaje, voters showed how they marked their ballots to polling agents that were stationed at the polling unit. Vote buying was also reported in Polling Unit 007, Ward 9 in Oba-Ile, Akure North LGA.


*Disruption of the Voting Process & Stuffing of Ballot Box*


Party thugs stormed Odoewu/Onipanu, Open Space Polling Unit (PU 009) of Idale-Logbosere Ward (04) in Idanre LGA with Machetes’, Axes and Guns, voters ran for safety as the thugs thumb printed ballot papers and stuff them into the ballot box. Ballot box stuffing was also reported in Surulere PU (003) in Oke-Igbo II ward of Ileoluji / Okeibo LGA


*Participation of Persons with Disabilities*


In assessing the electoral process’s responsiveness to the needs of persons with disabilities, NCF observed the presence of disability friendly election materials. Our observers reported the presence of the Braille ballot guide in some polling units, magnifying glasses, forms EC 40H (PWD Voter information and statistics) and the PWD posters Form EC 30E.

*Presence of Party Agents*


NCFront also, observed presence and conduct of party agents. As we point out earlier, the Ondo governorship election is a straight contest among three political parties. Reports showed that party agents cut mainly across the aforementioned parties.


*Security of the process*


The Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu had initially stated that Nigeria Police Force will deploy close to forty thousand (40,000) personnel to provide security and to maintain law and order during the Ondo State governorship election. In all PUs visited, we observed a minimum of 5 security personnel. Also, a good number of them were seen at the check points within the state capital. Beyond this, as the voting processes progressed in some of the locations, armed men in security outfits were seen moving from polling units to ensure a violence free election.


However, NCF received report of violent incidents in Ijomu Ward 4, Polling Unit 7 in Akure at St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School where another rival thug stabbed a suspected thug attempting to disrupt the election. Also, sporadic gunshots by unknown armed men occurred in Oba-Ile, Ward 9, Unit 007, Akure North, LGA.


Party thugs stormed Odoewu/Onipanu, Open Space Polling Unit (PU 009) of Idale-Logbosere Ward (04) in Idanre LGA with Machetes’, Axes and Guns, voters ran for safety as the thugs thumb printed ballot papers and stuff them into the ballot box. Ballot box stuffing was also reported in Surulere PU (003) in Oke-Igbo II ward of Ileoluji / Okeibo LGA


*Functionality of the Card Reader*


NCFront observers reported overall improvement in the effectiveness of Smart Card Readers, however, voting was suspended in one area of Okitipupa LG, because the Smart Card Reader malfunctioned and could not replaced.


In some of the PUs visited, the INEC officials complained of card readers failing to authenticate fingerprints of voters after card verification. In this situation, the voters were manually authenticated and allowed to vote.


However, in ward 2 Ogbogi/Isikan I, PU 009 Sacred Heart Primary school 1, the PU of one of the candidates, the card reader failed to verify and authenticate the candidate. The situation was however resolved after spending more than 30min at the voting point.


In some areas in Okitipupa, Ondo West, Odigbo LGAs, votings were suspended or cancelled because the Smart Card Readers malfunctioned and could not be fixed or replaced and also due to incidences of over voting




Some challenges were observed in the early stages of the election were:


a) Absence of facility for physically challenged persons.
b) The COVID-19 guidelines not strictly and fully complied with
c) No proper structure and shelter in form of canopy for voters in the event of rain fall.
d) Inadequate orientation for some of the polling officials.


(e). Private homes were used as polling stations. For instance the palace of Osolo of Isolo at Ijumu area was used as polling station.


(f) Also, at Ijomu, there was a polling unit with well over one thousand voters on the Register.




Based on the challenges observed above, NCFront, towards more credible elections in future, hereby recommends the following:


1. The peculiar mobility needs and facilitiies for people with disabilities should be considered when selecting the locations of polling units.
Sensitive material such as braille should be provided for voters with visual impairment.


2. There is an urgent need for an electoral reform that takes cognizance of electronic voting in the face of COVID-19 pandemic.


3. There is need for decentralization of polling units within the wards to reduce the challenges of contracting COVID-19 and problems associated with overcrowding at the polling units.


4. There is need to break some polling units into Voting Points for ease of administration and crowd management during voting.


INEC should extend the voting period in polling units where election commenced late due to late deployment of election materials and personnel and in the location where elections were delayed due to rainfall and other natural causes.


5. INEC should ensure that the ballots are usually counted openly, and the Form EC60E containing polling units’ results pasted at the polling unit for the electorates and,


6. Should ensure that the polling unit result sheet; form EC8A for each polling is uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing Portal and also post information about the polling units where elections did not hold or results were canceled.


7. We also wish to urge INEC to ensure transparency and openness io issues of cancellation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws. Uniformity of processes and consistency in applying its guidelines should also be maintained across all polling units and LGAs.


8, INEC should ensure due diligence and oversight on the result collation process in blind spots in the riverine communities of Ilaje and EseOdo LGA.


8, INEC should also ensure more and adequate security is provided as collation commences across the state.


9. Accredited observers and media reporters should be granted unrestrained access to observe the collation process, while security personnel should remain professional and non-partisan throughout the election.


1)0. INEC should henceforth investigate cases of election malfeasance and ensure the prosecution of electoral offenders.




NCFront commends the good people of Ondo State for the overall civility and resilience demonstrated during the voting process and their patience through out the voting and counting process.


To this end, as the elections enter the critical stage of vote collation, announcement and uploading of results on the INEC’s viewing portal, NCFront Stuation Room urges all stakeholders to continue to conduct themselves peacefully to ensure the conducive atmosphere recorded so far is sustained. We further call on the security operatives to be vigilant in mitigating incidences of electoral violence which normally characterizes the collation process. INEC should ensure the remaining phases of the election process proceeds in a transparent manner.


The Front Observation Mission, which stormed Ondo with a firm resolve to be vigilant about cases of electoral violence and vote buying and selling affirms that the just concluded Ondo State Governorship Elections, has been an improvement on the Edo 2020 electoral process and therefore wishes to commend INEC and other key stakeholders, especially the Nigerian Press for ensuring substantial peace and credibility in the Ondo 2020 as we also like to admonish political actors and supporters to shun any act capable of discrediting and derailing the final outcome of the Elections.


Lastly, we wish to task the winner of this keenly contested Elections to be magnanimous in victory by extending hands of fellowship to his fellow contestants in the interest of a united and stable Ondo State.




For NCFront Observation Mission:


Comrade Isa Aremu, mni
Dr Tanko Yunusa
Ernest Ejiro Ofoye, Esq
Princess Adesola Ogunleye
Dame Adu Olabisi

NCFront Situation Room
0818 845 1511
Akure, Ondo State



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