A frontline pro-democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reciprocate the confidence of the electorate in Ondo State as voters head to the polls on October 10.
CDD Director, Idayat Hassan gave the charge against the background that INEC has not been subjected to attacks and potshots, which it had faced in recent elections in other states.
The group said: “One interesting trend observed by CDD in the Ondo State governorship election is the absence of or reduced level of attacks on the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Compared to governorship elections in other states, INEC has been largely spared of denunciations and attacks, which are clearly aimed at undermining the idea of the Commission’s impartiality. Politicians normally resort to the strategy of denouncing INEC so that if they lose the election, they can quickly blame INEC’s alleged compromise as the reason for their loss.”
CDD noted that since, INEC has not had to respond to such vicious attacks aimed at undermining its non-partisan role, and distracting it, it implies stakeholders have confidence in the process the Commission is conducting. The Centre, therefore, called on INEC to reciprocate this confidence by ensuring it does not disappoint in the area of logistics and result collation come October 10.
“INEC cannot afford to fritter away this level of goodwill. It has to ensure the confidence reposed in it is properly reciprocated. This it can do by ensuring materials arrive at the polling units on time; INEC should therefore consider the nature of the terrain in some parts of the state, especially the riverine and mountainous nature of some Local Government Areas.
“CDD hopes INEC will strategically factor these areas in its deployment plans to ensure there is no late arrival of materials. These factors will have to be considered in the aspect of reverse logistics, especially with respect to the collation of results. Given the terrain difficulty in those LGAs, CDD calls on INEC to ensure its results viewing portal is capable of documenting results, especially from areas, which will pose a terrain problem.”
The group similarly urged the Commission to find ways to mitigate the effect of the largely partisan disposition of transport unions, including the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Motorcyclists Association.
The group said: “The partisan posture of these unions could pose challenges, which may create credibility and logistics problems for the entire process. Incidentally, the NURTW is the body INEC relies on for the transportation of electoral materials. This may create a problem for INEC in the area of getting materials to all voting areas in the state.
CDD calls on INEC to prepare backup plans just in case there is a system failure in its logistics deployment as a result of the partisan disposition of the transport union,” she said.