Cleen Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has lauded the friendliness and approachability of the security agents deployed for election duty at the just conducted Ondo State governorship polls.
Mr Benson Olugbuo, the Executive Director of the foundation lauded the various security outfits in its preliminary report issued in Abuja on the conduct of security before, during and after the electoral process.
Olugbuo said that the foundation collaborated with the Police Service Commission (PSC) to observe the conducts of security under the Election Security Support Centre (ESSC) of the foundation.
He said that its observers reports showed that 57.1 per cent of the security personnel at the polling units were approachable and 66.7 per cent were impartial.
According to him, 93 per cent of the polling units across the state were safe and secured because of the friendliness, approachability and identifiable appearance of the security personnel.
“According to the statistics generated through our observer reports, 93 per cent of security personnel arrived at the polling units across the state before 8:00a.m.
“Eighty three per cent of the polling units across the state were protected by unarmed security personnel and on the aggregate, 95.2 per cent of the polling units had three or more security personnel.
“We observed that 95.2 per cent of the security personnel were wearing easily identifiable name tags and were accessible to the electorate,” he said.
Olugbuo, however, said that on the welfare of security the personnel abandoned the polling units at some point in search of food, leaving voters at the mercy of party agents.
This, he said, portrayed a wrong impression and brought to fore the issue of welfare of the officers which had been recurring and was discussed with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) during a dialogue meeting with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Olugbuo commended the security agents who rose to the call of duty to prevent vote trading and called for the arrest, investigation and prosecution of party agents engaged in vote trading.
He also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the general conduct of the election but, however, raised concern about the poor functionality of most of the smart card readers.
“We observed smart card reader malfunctioning. Voting was delayed in some units due to malfunctioning of the smart card readers.
“Some were unable to authenticate voters and INEC officials refused to use manual accreditation insisting on following the laid down procedure which delayed the electoral process,” he said.
He called on INEC to ensure improvement in the deployment of materials especially in the riverine communities and on the use of functional smart card readers.
Olugbuo said that the foundation would continue to observe the election and issue its post-election statements to detail more on the overall conduct of the security personnel deployed on election duty.
He urged INEC and the security agents at the collation centres to maintain the highest level of professionalism in their conduct by guarding against any form of compromise that could scuttle the entire democratic process.(NAN)