The Advocates for People Rights and Justice, an accredited election observer group, says the social distancing protocol was substantially flouted at the Edo governorship election which was conducted on Saturday.
In a press statement signed by its national co-ordinator, Barr. Victor Giwa and made available to The AUTHORITY, it said that use of face mask looked more like a ceremonial obligation.
The group which said it observed the election in about 10 local government areas, stated its observation in the statement. It listed the local governments where it observed the election as Esan South East, Esan North East, Esan West, Esan Central, Oriedo , Ikoba Okia, Egor, Etsako West.
On commencement of Election: ‘’The Election did not commence early, as voters were seen at their polling units from 7am in some units, waiting for INEC officers.
‘’INEC officers and Adhoc staff generally arrived between 8,30am to 9 05am. Accreditation started immediately except in areas in Oriedo ward 4, were Voting started at 11am.
On security operatives: ‘’The security personnel were very visible. There were high security presence in the State, high deployment of securities personnel at the polling units, streets and highways. The security personnel deployed were officers of the Nigeria Police force, Department of State Security Service (DSS), Civil Defense Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps and Immigration Service. We commend the securities for being civil, orderly and people friendly.
‘’There were pockets of reported cases of violence especially in Esan West, Ekpoma and in Ohiumhon local government area. The presence of security personnel and the resolution of Edo people reduced the incidence.
On Covid-19 Protocol Observation: ‘’The Covid-19 Protocol of social distancing was flouted maximally, use of face mask was ceremonially used, more to avoid disenfranchisement from voting, since it’s a condition to cast vote.
‘’Generally the election was free fair and transparent and the securities operatives were at their fair moment the Edo people ensured that their votes count,’’ it concludes.