Mrs Amina Zakari, National Commissioner in charge of Electoral Operations, Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), said Parallel Vote tabulation(PVT) for the 2016 Ondo Governorship election had corroborated the commission’s result due to sustained improvement on its activities over the years.
Zakari made this known on Sunday during an interview in Abuja. According to her, the recent release of PVT results on the election speaks volumes of the outcome of INEC’s efforts at conducting free, fair and credible elections since 2011.
“We are very excited to see that a group was tracking the Ondo governorship election’s results at various polling units and the result has very thin difference with our own.
“We also had an e-track monitoring system, we have been monitoring our elections online and we have seen the trend, what we have online and what is announced has no significant difference.
“This is because from 2010-2011, there has been improvement on our electoral processes, we have been monitoring and managing the elections from a more scientific perspective,” she said.
“ For Ondo, INEC needs to be commended because this is the first time we delivered election materials, 100 per cent, election materials arrived at all the local governments, even Ilaje(riverine area).
“Irrespective of the issues with election, we also had an e-track monitoring system, we have been monitoring our elections online.
“We’ve seen the trend, what we have online and what is announced has no significant difference,” she said. On other factors that made the election fair, peaceful and credible, Zakari said the agency had gotten the cooperation of other stakeholders during the election.
“The difference between a truly positive outcome like Ondo and a negative outcome comes from other factors, not just INEC.
“ With the consistent discussions and engagements with the security agencies, they are beginning to understand our deployment needs. It has always been that INEC has a separate need and the security has a separate plan. Now we have come to an understanding, they deploy based on our needs.
“Our materials used to be hijacked on the seas and dumped into the ocean, but because of adequate security cover, a huge number of polling units in Ilaje (riverine area) also opened on time,” she said.
The national commissioner noted there was a need to improve on that teamwork so that security agencies could facilitate distribution of electoral materials overnight. She also called on politicians to desist from interfering in the electoral process.
Meanwhile, Mr. Samson Itodo, Executive Director, YIAGA, said: “340 stationary and 23 mobile citizens observers were deployed to randomly sample 300 polling units across the 18 local governments in Ondo State”.
“We observed that 65 percent of polling units visited opened for voting by 7.30 a.m with election materials and officials on ground.
“Collapsing accreditation and voting process made it possible for 23 percent of polling units visited to conclude voting before 2 p.m., while 89 per cent concluded voting by 3 p.m.
“Our tabulation from all sampled polling units showed that SDP got 1.9 percent of votes from all the polling units monitored, while INEC’s result shows 1.8 percent which is 0.9 percent difference from our estimation,” he said.
YIAGA commended INEC for its resilience during the election, especially for not postponing the election despite pressures on it to do so. The group also commended the people of Ondo State for exercising their fundamental rights during the election.
YIAGA, however, called on political parties to consider adequate deployment of party agents to all polling units in order to reduce doubt in election results.
Similarly, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reforms, said “the Police and other security agencies should further open their doors for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
“That will strengthen engagements and partnership to enhance better electoral system in the country,” he said. The candidate of the All Progressive Congress(APC) won the Nov.26 Governorship election in Ondo State with 244,842 votes to defeat the other 27 contestants in the election.