BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
The Independent National Electoral Commission has identified excessive monetisation of politics, use of thuggery during electioneering campaigns and election processes and voter apathy in urban areas as some of the peculiar challenges confronting it as regards elections in Osun State.
This was disclosed by the Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute of the commission, Abdullahi Abdu Zuru at the Pre-election Survey Methodology Workshop held in Osogbo recently.
Represented by the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Abdulganiy Olayinka Raji, Zuru said the commission was aware of the heated situation of things in the political atmosphere of the state due to the forthcoming gubernatorial election, adding that all efforts were being put in place to ensure a free, fair and acceptable poll, nonetheless.
He said INEC was fine-tuning its operations and processes for optimal performance in the July 16 governorship election in Osun as well as the 2023 general elections in the country.
He added that the umpire was making progress against rigging during polls.
According to him, the commission has made tremendous progress in drastic reduction of electoral malpractices such as rigging, overstuffing of ballot boxes, over bloating of ballot register, special treatment of voters and election officials, distortion or doctoring of results, disappearance or destruction of ballot box among other anomalies.
Zuru said, “All these (anomalies) are things of the past as a result of research, in-depth discussions and innovations that emanated from this kind of events as organised by the commission at various levels.
“Due to the peculiarities of our dear country Nigeria, the commission still has a whole lot to deal with to ensure that our electoral processes are free of malpractices and issues that could jeopardise our collective efforts as an umpire. Some of the critical issues as peculiar to Osun State can be identified as the use of thuggery during electioneering campaigns and election processes, identification and evaluation of difficult terrains and excessive monetisation of politics in general.
“Others are “winner takes all” philosophy pervasive among the political players and voter apathy, especially in urban areas such as Osogbo, Ife, Ilesa, Ede among others,” he disclosed.
Furthermore, he said that the commission brought the workshop to the fore so as to equip its field agents with the requisite knowledge and skills needed.