The Centre for Democracy and Development through its Election Analysis Centre has called on all voters to comply with health protocols, as the COVID-19 pandemic has not come to an end. The Centre made the disclosure while briefing Journalist in Abuja.
The Chairman, Election Analysis center, Professor Adele Jinadu disclosed that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create challenges for the management of elections, Citizens will have to find the resolve to obey INEC guidelines for conducting elections during the pandemic. “Citizens are enjoined to obey protocols such as physical distancing rules, and wearing of face masks during the polls to avoid an explosion of cases,post-elections.”
“As of 15th September 2020, Edo State has 2,610 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This constitutes 4.6% of the total number of cases in Nigeria. Of the 2,610 cases, 2,420 have been discharged while there are 90 active cases and 100 deaths respectively.”
He charged Edo residents to come out in large numbers despite the pandemic.
“There is a need for continuous sensitization programs for the citizens on the need to participate actively in the reformation of the nation’s electoral processes.’
CDD also notes with concern the recalcitrance of political actors and their surrogates who continue to instruct their die-hard supporters to ensure 100 percent victory at all costs in their respective polling units.
” Observers report that party thugs are being deployed to local governments to deliver votes, and there is a likelihood of a breakdown of peace. ”
“While politicians may argue that there is nothing wrong in wanting to win 100 percent, the problem lies in the fact that supporters are likely to adopt both fair and foul means to ensure such objectives ”
The Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan noted that the hotspots of possible violence identified by the center include: Etsako West, Etsako East, Etsako Central, Owan West, and Akoko-Edo in Edo North Senatorial district.
She added that In Edo South, Oredo, Orhionmwon, Egor, Ovia North East, and Ikpoba-Okha LGAs have shown such early warning signs.
According to Idayat, CDD has been monitoring the role of fake news and misinformation in the electoral process.
“The fake news, disinformation, and misinformation ecosystem in Edo State is driven by a variety of platforms on social media. Both the APC and PDP in Edo state have dedicated media teams with clearly defined structures designed to maximize their online presence. ”
“While the PDP is using targeted and sponsored messages on both Instagram and Twitter, the APC is supporting a structured team of up to 300 canvassers spread across Facebook, Twitter, Nairaland, and WhatsApp groups.”
CDD observers reported an emerging trend in the pattern of vote buying wherein it is the voters who are now searching for the highest bidder among the political camps to sell their vote .
“A number of voters interviewed insisted that the only thing, which would make them to vote, is if a contestant agrees to pay an amount for the vote.”
Idiyat Hassan stressed the need for the security agencies deployed to Edo state for the governorship election to discharge their duties lawfully without intimidation.
” Our observers have reported that the security personnel deployed to Edo state for the governorship election were seen moving around in some local government with helicopter since on Monday, but don’t have report of intimidating anyone as at the time of filing this report.”