Fayemi, Observers Disagree over Ekiti Governorship Election Assessment


Victor Ogunje in Ado Equity

A coalition of domestic and international election observers accredited to observe the July 14 governorship poll in Ekiti State, on Tuesday discredited the poll with their reports, insisting that the election that produced All Progressive Congress Kayode Fayemi as Governor-elect, falls short of global best practices and electoral standards

The observers, who comprised of representatives from over 50 domestic organisations, human rights groups and international election observing bodies, include Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, (Nigeria); Justice and Equity Organisation, (Nigeria); International Republican Institute (USA); and Patriotic Women Foundation, (Nigeria) as well as the other bodies from the

African Unions, among others.

The observers who praised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for proper conduct of the poll in line with global

and constitutional dictates and standards, however faulted the deployment of 30,000 security agents insisting that such development

and conduct of some of the security operatives largely marred the electoral process.

Dispelling position canvassed by the coalition, Fayemi dismissed the report of the observer groups as a product of fabrication of the Ekiti State Government to discredit the July 14, election which he won.

A report purportedly by observer groups had on Tuesday been circulating in the media dismissing the election as falling short of

international standard, such that the election could not be recommended as a benchmark for a future credible election.

But a statement by Wole Olujobi of Kayode Fayemi Media Office dismissed the report as a product of fraud masterminded by Ekiti State

Government to discredit the election in which Deputy Governor Kola Olusola Eleka lost to Fayemi.

Addressing newsmen on behalf of the domestic observers, Gabriel Nwambu, of the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, Abuja, said: ” Modern democracy guarantees freedom of electorate to

determine who to vote, anything against this is usurpation. Polls also should comply with globally accepted standards hence observers’ job is to access the level of compliance of electoral umpire to constitutional regulations which serve as a way to give direction for

future exercise.”

“Reports of observers remain a potential tool for election tribunals and other monitoring and relevant bodies for post election activities.

51 reputable domestic observer groups were on ground in all the 177 wards, 16 Local Government Areas and all the polling units in the state to monitor the poll. Ekiti has a record of being a serial politically volatile state in Nigeria and this became manifest before

during and after the poll.

“On July 14, domestic observers witnessed large turnout of the electorate from 6:30 am, earlier than the stipulated time of 8:am. The

exercise witnessed a high level of unprecedented electoral related

challenges and such abuse will remain contentious until justice prevails, especially in the areas of cash inducement, arrests of

political stalwarts by security agents and snatching of electoral materials by political thugs among other abuses.”

Fayemi, in his response further said: “We have noted the fraud contained in the so-called observers group report and we condemn the

desperation that stoke that sponsored report to diminish the standard of the Saturday election, which a more credible observer group,

Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), had earlier hailed as credible poll, applauding INEC, security and voters for conducting themselves

in acceptable manner to produce credible election.

“We were privy to the earlier press conference where the observer groups were to give a fair assessment of the entire electoral process,

but the process was hijacked by the state government, which locked a motley crowd of supporters in a room in the Government House where media houses under retainership of the state government were the only ones present to report the proceedings of the so-called press


“In the so-called press conference, only two television stations under retainership of Ekiti Government and a reporter of a Lagos-based

publication were present. The report that purportedly emerged as scripted in the so-called press conference was forwarded to other

media houses, which innocently resorted to processing the story for wider broadcast and publication to mislead the Nigerian public as

authentic observers group’s report on the election”, he concluded.