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NBA Benin Branch Election Observers’ Team: Official Report for the Presidential Elections of February 23rd, 2019

NBA Benin branch election observers team
On the front line: The NBA Benin branch election observers’ team traversed the polling units within its jurisdiction to ensure and confirm that the polls were free, fair and genuine

Composition

Prince Collins Ogiegbaen,A.I.C.M.C. -Chairman,
Pius I. Oiwoh Esq.A.I.C.M.C.-Secretary
David Maduku Esq.-Member
Douglas Ogbankwa Esq.-Member
Dennis Osaretin Agho Esq. -Member
Victoria Omoregie Esq.-Member
Joyce Odiase Esq.,
Ehikioya Esq.
Chris Otasowie Esq.-Member
Jude Ogbeide Esq.-Member
Odinosen Esq.,-Member
Ovonlen Ebhohimhen Esq.-Member
Osaigbovo Aghatise -(Secretariat Support )


Introduction

Following the accreditation of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, as domestic observers for the 2019 General Elections, the National Body detailed some members of the NBA Benin Branch to observe the Elections, which composition is indicated above


The Report

The NBA Benin Election Observers’ Team kick started the Election Observing process at Imaguero College ,Sapele Road ,Benin City,Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State .As at about 8:30am ,at the Imaguero College,only one of the four Polling Units had been set up.We observed a general nature of voter apathy in the above indicated Voting Centre and we Met an African Union Observers’ Team there.

At the Ohuoba Primary School, Murtala Mohammed Way ,Benin City ,Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State ,a distribution point for Electoral Materials, the Team observed that some Polling Officers were stranded with out logistics to proceed to their Polling Centres.

At the Polling Centre ,indicated above ,all the Polling Units had been set up,at about 9:00am .At the same Centre ,the Team observed incidence of vote buying,with the Security Agencies turning a blind eye and stopped it immediately by asking the culprits to leave the Polling Centre.

At Immaculate Comception College ,Oredo Local Government Area, there was an orderly scenario .The Team suspected a case of Vote Buying ,but the suspected culprits eloped upon seeing the Team.

The Team then proceeded to Ebenezer Primary School ,Ihama Road,GRA ,Benin City,where one Hundred Ballot Papers for one of the Units ,for the Senate Election,were alleged to be missing.The Team intervened when there was a furore over the issue and the Ballot Papers were eventually found.

At George Idah Primary School ,Ihama Road ,GRA,Benin City ,Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State ,there was a free and fair process in place during the voting and counting of the ballot.

The Team proceeded to Emokpae Primary School ,Mission Road ,Benin City ,Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State.
The Team noticed that one of the Units had issues with the Card Reader.


The Team observed that there was an incidence of vote buying and when the Team probed further, the culprit drove away with his bounty in a Gold Coloured Mercedes Benz Saloon Car.


At the Uselu Town Hall the team observed a very clogged system with little space .The Team observed that one of the Units had issues with their card reader which was later resolved.

The Team at the Imaguero College,Sapele Road, Oredo Local Government of Edo State

At the Olua Primary School, Egor Local Government Area of Edo State ,there was a problem with one of the card readers in one of the Units. The Team observed a case of Vote Buying with security Agencies as usual looking the other way and stopped it immediately, with the culprits running away with their baits.

The Team Observed that Poling Officers were in the sun with out any cover and this affected their efficiency.

The Team went to Ogbeson Primary School, Agbor Park, Ikpoba Hill, Benin City, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, where the process was peaceful and voting was in an orderly matter.

Same for Queen Ede Secondary School nearby save for the late arrival of materials and Polling Officers.The Team however observed generally that the Polling Booth is too open and it could give room for manpulation of Voters by Vote Buyers amongst other State and Non State Actors.

The Team proceeded to Agbado Primary School , Akpakpava Road, Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State where but for a little glitch, voting was concluded peacefully and the results declared .
The Team observed an affective security corridor to enforce the restriction of movements.

Appreciations

The Team must commend the Commissioner of Police in Charge of Election Duties in Edo State ,CP Dan Mallam Mohammed for the effective policing during the Process .
The Team also commends Mrs. Obamogie ,the Head of Public Affairs of INEC Edo State for her prompt responses to issues.

Recommendations

The Team however recommend that Security Agencies look into the issue of Vote buying ,which is now being done a day before elections,with Procurement of Voters being effected at People’s Houses .
The Team also recommends that serving of food and brevages by politicians at Polling Centres be prohibited as this is another form of Vote Buying.


The Team recommends a more Secluded Place as Polling Booth ,to ensure the secrecy of the Ballot ,the sanctity of the Process and the precluding of Vote Buying.


The Team recommends the provision of better logistics for Polling Officers to move to their Units timeously during Elections and recommend that canopies be provided for the Polling Officers at the Polling Centres, who were mostly in the scorcing sun and the drenching rains .

Conclusion

Generally the Presidential Election and National Assembly elections in Benin and its environs were peaceful, free, fair and credible and results declared as per the Independent National Electoral Commission announcement of results .

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