Monday 23 June 2014

Preliminary Statement on the Conduct of Security Officials during the Ekiti State Gubernatorial Election Held on Saturday, 21 June 2014

In line with its commitment to contributing to effective election security management, the CLEEN Foundation, with support from the Justice for All (J4A) Program of DFID, observed the conduct of security officials during the Ekiti state gubernatorial election held on Saturday 21 June 2014. As done in previous elections across the country since 2011, CLEEN Foundation implemented a number of integrated activities aimed at contributing to public safety and security during the election in Ekiti State. First, it conducted a pre-election security threat assessment to identify potential security risks, flashpoints and mitigating factors to those threats. The finding of this assessment was shared broadly with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, other security agencies and civil society groups. Second, it organized a one day training workshop on election security management for all the Divisional Police Officers and other senior officials under the Ekiti state police command. The workshop was also attended by the Ekiti State Resident Electoral Commissioner, the National Orientation Agency and the leadership of other law enforcement agencies. It provided a forum to share useful ideas on how to effectively police the election and generally ensure safety throughout the exercise. Third, CLEEN Foundation published abridged versions of the Police Service Commission’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Police Officers on Electoral Duty in two national dailies, widely read in the State. The publications also contained the contact numbers for the call centre it had set up to collate complaints and incident reports from the public on the conduct of security officials during the election. Lastly, CLEEN obtained accreditation from INEC, recruited, trained and deployed observers in all 16 local government areas (LGAs) in Ekiti state to observe the conduct of security operatives on election duty. This statement sums up the preliminary findings of that observation exercise.

Although 18 political parties fielded candidates for the Ekiti State gubernatorial election, the contest was however perceived as mostly between three parties/candidates; Incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Opeyemi Bamidele  of Labour Party (LP) and Ayo Fayose of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). The election was conducted amidst very high concerns for security, given the history of election related violence in the state and the level of violence that had characterized the campaign process. Key anticipated threats to security during the elections were identified as including delay or non-arrival of election materials and personnel which may be misinterpreted as an attempt to rig the election,  mutual suspicion of rigging between the parties and candidates, threats of violence made during the campaigns and possibility of influence from either the federal or regional level. In response to these perceived threats, a significant number of security operatives were deployed across the state for the election.

1.      Security Presence in the State: There was very heavy deployment of security personnel across the state for the election. This occasioned significant restrictions of movement in some areas. However, no major incidents of security breach were recorded and their presence did not hinder the electoral process.
2.      Deployment of Security Personnel: Despite the massive number of police personnel purportedly deployed to the state and the additional personnel support provided by other law enforcement agencies, deployment of security personnel across the 2195 polling units in the state still recorded some challenges. While majority of the polling units had two or more security officials, some others had just one official throughout the election. For example, some polling units in Ekiti South West LGA had just one official (Unit 011, Ward 6; Unit 007, Ward 11; Unit 012, Ward 11; Units 002, 003 and 004, Ward 11; Unit 009, Ward 10).  In some other instances, there were no security officials when accreditation started and they only arrived a few hours after.
3.      Welfare of Security Personnel: Complaints of very poor welfare arrangements were noted across the state. Most of the officials deployed from outside the state since Monday 16 June 2016 complained that little or no provision was made for their accommodation and feeding so they had to sleep on the tables in empty school buildings. Some others slept at the state command headquarters or the divisional police offices. We also noted that feeding allowances varied according to rank and some of the junior officials were yet to receive anything at the time of the election.
4.      Conduct of Security Personnel during the Election: In spite of the challenges with deployment and welfare, security personnel were reported to have performed very well during the election. They were commendably professional, alert, approachable and impartial. In places were crowd management became a challenge, they were able to call for back up from the armed roving patrol teams who intervened to restore order.
5.       Deployment of Election Logistics: Across the state, election materials and personnel were reported to have arrived on time. INEC’s ad hoc personnel also demonstrated a better understanding of the process and were able to manage it effectively. Thus accreditation, voting and counting all went on schedule, with little or no challenges in most places observed.
6.      Activities of Party Agents: The unlawful activities of some party agents and loyalists remain worrisome. For instance, at Unit 020, Ward 9 Ado LGA, Unit 005, Ward 9, Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA and Unit 002, Ward 2, Moba LGA party agents and loyalists were seen buying votes. Security officials had to be invited to arrest the situation.

1.      The improvements in training and effectively deployment of INEC ad hoc staff and materials should be sustained and built upon for the election in Osun and the general elections in 2015;
2.      Security agencies are urged to plan ahead of each election and ensure adequate logistics provision for personnel it will be deploying to cater for their welfare while on electoral duty and minimize their vulnerability to compromise;
3.      The deployment strategy for security agencies on electoral duty should be revised and improved upon to ensure adequate coverage of polling units and flashpoint areas;
4.      The Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry of Police Affairs and the National Orientation Agency are urged to widely disseminate the Code of Conduct for the Police. The Police Service Commission should also take disciplinary measures against erring officials identified during elections;
5.      INEC and law enforcement agencies should take immediate steps to put an end to impunity for electoral offences by arresting and prosecuting offenders.

We commend the efforts of INEC, the Police and other security agencies towards ensuring that the Ekiti gubernatorial election was peaceful and successful. We also congratulate the people of Ekiti State for their peaceful conduct during the election and after the release of the results. We thank the Justice for All (J4A) programme of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its generous support towards the observation of this election.

The CLEEN Foundation is a non-governmental organization established in 1998 and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to promote public safety security and accessible justice. CLEEN Foundation is a member of several networks across the world and also has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.


Unknown said...

Some events, like the actions of individuals remain an eternal mystery to me, understand that I obviously can not even make great efforts - It would be desirable that the first person in the country set an example to all as it should, and not vice versa. It is a pity it is to watch and do nothing.

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