Ogun polls: Observers pass vote of confidence on INEC, says results reflect people’s wish

By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta

An independent monitoring group, Forum of Election Observers Groups, has declared that the outcome of the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Ogun State, largely reflect the opinion of the vast majority of residents.

Coordinator of the group, Ayodeji Ologun, who stated this at a media briefing in Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday, passed a vote of confidence on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the conduct and eventual results of the polls.

The Forum of Election Observers Groups, were among the 146,913 observers accredited by INEC, to observe the 2023 general elections.

Ologun said: “As a group, we observed the 2023 presidential, National Assembly, governorship and State Assembly elections and we wish to state, that the results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), during the last governorship and State Assembly election, were consistent with our parallel vote tabulation results estimates. 

“A classical of this, is the result of the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Ogun State, which were monitored by many of our leaders, herein present.

“Not minding various reactions that have trailed the outcome of the elections, we consider it a patriotic duty, to inform Nigerians, about our observations, and ultimately advise against tendencies, that seek to undermine the progress being recorded in our democratic journey, as a nation.

“While it is no doubt, that several complains have risen, as a result of the eventual outcome of the elections, the March 18 governorship and State House of Assembly elections, witnessed a significant improvement in the performance of INEC, and this in no doubt, impacted positively on the eventual outcome of the elections.”

Ologun stressed that the clarification became necessary considering series of reports and agitations, so far generated by the outcome of Saturday’s elections, and negative reports being attributed to it by some politically exposed interests. 

The group maintained that various organisations had observers deployed to monitor the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Ogun State, which also embarked on a conscious effort at monitoring and collating results of the elections. 

“The official results announced by INEC into the governorship position and House of Assembly seats, were consistent with our vote tabulation results estimates. In other words, the results reflect the votes cast at the polling units, and the general interest of the people of Ogun State.

“Furthermore, our findings revealed certain lapses and reports of malfeasance that impacted on the quality of the process in some polling units in the state. That nonetheless was insignificant, compared to the progress made, during the election.

“Our observers, in some local governments, including Ikenne, Abeokuta South, Ijebu North and Ado Odo Ota witnessed incidences of voter inducements and campaign during election. 

“In fact, not less than 10 agents of the major opposition political party in the state were arrested by security agents for attempt to induce voters with cash and compromise election officials in parts of the Ado Odo Ota Local Government. 

“We also witnessed how branded Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards, pre-loaded with money were being used to induce voters and influence their choices during the election,” he said.

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