Foreign Observers Express Concern over Alleged Interference

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Meanwhile, the election observation team of the U.S., EU and UK have expressed concern over alleged reports of irregularities, harassment and interference by inappropriate persons in the rerun election.

Giving their initial observation on the conduct of the exercise, a member of the team in a short statement said, “We are very concerned by these reports and will be checking with stakeholders to check the facts. We call on all stakeholders to remain calm.”

The observers stated their position while addressing journalists in Osogbo in an interview televised by the TVC television station.

Also commenting on the exercise, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) faulted it, saying that the conduct of some key stakeholders clearly ran contrary to democratic norms and standards, as well as best practices in the conduct of credible elections.

The CDD lamented that a number of the incidents recorded during the poll had undermined the sanctity of the vote and the overall credibility of the electoral process.

The centre specifically frowned at the conduct of the security agents as well as political party stalwarts who took steps that were clearly inimical to the conduct of a free, fair and credible election.

The Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, disclosed this in a statement yesterday in Abuja, where she decried that election observers who attempted to carry out their legitimate duties were arrested and taken to nearby police station, and were only released after being denied the opportunity to keep an eye on the process so as to guarantee its credibility.

Hassan stated: “The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has carefully observed the governorship rerun election in Osun State with a conclusion that the conduct of some key stakeholders clearly ran contrary to democratic norms and standards, as well as best practices in the conduct of credible elections.

“CDD observers reported several cases of denial of access to Polling Units to observers, and even voters. CDD field observers deployed to observe the process and ensure its credibility, especially in Orolu and Osogbo LGAs, were intimidated, threatened and in some cases arrested by security forces.

“Credible reports from our field observers showed that despite being duly accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), several of the observers and journalists were stopped from observing the process.”