By: Valentine Adese,
A group of Civil Society Organizations, Faith Based Organizations, Community platforms, and relevant Government Agencies, who came together under a coalition known as “Plateau State Coalition on Electoral Reforms and Good Governance (PLASCER), has described the just concluded Plateau State Local Government Council elections conducted by the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) as a sham on the grounds that, the results of the polls were not announced at collation center and that the collation processes were not transparent.
The coalition, which just published its Preliminary Report today, concerning the elections in the 13 Local Government Area of the state, stated that it observed that, Polling units were located in places that may not have guarantee free and fair elections like palaces.
According to the report, the coalition claimed that it had set up a situation room, which observed the !0th October, 2018, state elections conducted in 13 local governments by Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC) and that members of the coalition and some community volunteers were deployed to polling units and collation centers to observe the process.
The coalition claimed that the information so published, captures the observations of the situation room based on “pre and Election Day activities within the electoral process”.
According to PLASCER’s report, “Party agents were properly deployed and were generally peaceful in their conduct, Polling units were located in places that may not have guarantee free and fair elections like palaces, that there were overcrowded pulling units, which had the tendency of undermining participation, while collation of results were not transparently done as it was discontinued or characterized by absconding of presiding officers.
READ THE FULL REPORT BELOW:
PLASCER SITUATION ROOM PRELIMINARY REPORT
ISSUE DATE: Thursday 11th October, 2018 Time: 9:00
Introduction: We are a group of Civil Society Organizations, Faith Based organizations, Community platforms, and relevant government agencies who have come together under a coalition known as “Plateau State Coalition on Electoral Reforms and Good Governance (PLASCER). The coalition set up a situation room which observed the October 10th, 2018 state elections conducted in 13 local governments by Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIEC). Members of the coalition and some community volunteers were deployed to polling units and collation centers to observe the process. The following information captures the observations of the situation room based on pre and Election Day activities within the electoral process:
- There was poor engagement of stakeholders. The electoral umpire didn’t organize meetings with wide range stakeholders thereby limiting information about the process. For instance, civil society Practitioners were not consulted which should have been the right thing to do.
- There was poor voter information and education which should been majorly been done by PLASIEC and supported by other stakeholders if they had the information.
- We noticed that Political Parties were passive in engaging the electoral process.
- Also, the distribution of election materials was done timely from the PLASIEC headquarters in Jos but there was no involvement of some stakeholders LIKE CSO to witness the distribution.
Election Day Observations:
- We noticed the delay of arrival of sensitive materials and officials. While some places had theirs as early as 6:30am while others as late as 2pm
- There was sufficient materials except for some isolated cases were result sheets and stamps were not sufficient in some polling units
- There was Impressive turn out of voters who also conducted themselves in an orderly and peaceful manner even when there was a delay in the arrival of materials.
- There were reported cases of malpractices like ballot paper thumb printing, ballot box snatching, multiple voting, incidences of fake result sheets, and negligible cases of underage voting
- Election officers were unprofessional and did not display sufficient knowledge of the electoral guidelines. Some were not friendly to prospective voters even when they were approached for clarification.
- There was adequate security presence at polling units as they were vigilant and conducted themselves calmly.
- There was active participation of persons with disability (PWD) as they were supported during voting while some of them contested at different levels.
- Party agents were properly deployed and were generally peaceful in their conduct.
- We observed that Polling units were located in places that may not have guarantee free and fair elections like palaces.
- We also noticed overcrowded pulling units which has the tendency of undermining participation
- Collation of result was not transparently done as it was discontinued or characterized by absconding of presiding officers.
- Some of the collation officers were held hostage because they attempted discontinuing with the collation of the results.
- We observed that announcement of results did not take place in most of the collation centres
- Results were said to be declared through the media and when situation room called contacts in the commission to verify after several attempts, we were directed to check Plateau Radio Television Corporation for the information.
In conclusion, we can’t authoritatively say that the election was transparent even when it started smoothly but it was truncated during collation, announcements and declaration. We are aware that there have been protest and agitations from different local governments but we appeal to all people concern to channel their grievances in a manner that will not truncate the fragile peace being enjoyed in the state.
Coordinator- PLASCER Situation Room
Contact Organization: C/O Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP) No 8 New Zaria Terrace, off Tafawa Balewa Street, Jos.
Twiiter @ CAPPJOS2
Phone No: 07036545474