Ondo 2020: Cleen foundation says electorate expect peaceful polls

Cleen Foundation, an NGO, says that from its Election Security Threats Assessment (ESTA) carried out in Ondo State, the electorate were anticipating peaceful and credible exercise in the forthcoming Oct. 10, Governorship election.

Dr Shola Omotola, the Project Consultant for the foundation, made this known on Thursday at an online Public Presentation of Findings of Security Threat Assessment for the 2020 Governorship Election in Ondo State.

He said that the survey revealed that majority of the respondents in the state expect the governorship election to be peaceful.

According to him, to be specific 86.4 per cent of the respondents strongly agreed that the exercise would be peaceful before, during and after the election.

He, however, said that although there was a hugely impressive perception of a peaceful election, there were also a number of election risk factors that could trigger violence if not mitigated.

“Such factors include exclusion and discrimination against the youth, undue influence of money and godfatherism, activities of troublesome politicians, political party leaders, candidates and others.

“Also, problem with the distribution, location and adequacy of polling units, political interference in the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and lack of transparency in the process.

“These and many more are the critical factors that could trigger violence in the governorship election,” he said.

In light of the foregoing, he said that key actors in the electoral processes particularly INEC, political parties, security agents, the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) needed to pay increasing attention to the identified risk factors.

This, he said was in other to help tackle the issues headlong.

Omotola urged stakeholders to intensify political education and sensitisation of citizens to the need to eschew all forms of violence in the election.

He called for not just the effective regulation of the mass media, but also the enforcement of compliance with established rules and standards and enforcement of penalties where rules were violated.

On her part, Mrs Blessing Abiri, Programme Advisor of Cleen foundation in Lagos State, said that greater attention should be paid to the training, welfare and professionalism of security agents in providing election security.

She said that the issues of logistics, timeliness and adequacy of deployment were of critical significance because election security was different and should not be handled with conventional security approaches.

According to her, election security goes beyond security agents.

“For it to be effective there must be collaboration with other stakeholders, especially INEC, political parties and CSOs.

“Synergy among these agencies should be cultivated and sustained, where special engagement with young people by stakeholders is also critical,” she said.

Abiri said that prompt responses to the early warning signs identified in ESTA report should be seen as a priority by appropriate authorities.

The Election Security Threats Assessment (ESTA) report explored election risk factors in the 2020 Ondo governorship election with a view to identifying early warning signals that could assist relevant stakeholders in devising and deploying appropriate responses.

Data for the study were collected using the Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EMVAT), to elicit information from 851 respondents (general public and experts) across the state.

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