Ahead of the Edo State gubernatorial election slated for this Saturday, a non-governmental organization, Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER) has mobilized over 50 observers to monitor the electoral processes and the political developments in the state.
CODER, in a statement on Thursday by its national coordinator, Mr. Temitope Shaba and spokesman, Comrade Ayodele Adewale, said the 50 observers who have been trained and duly accredited by the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) for the election will in turn oversee the activities of citizen observers across the 18 local government areas of the state who have also been trained by the group.
“With this structure in place, CODER will provide real-time updates on activities during the election and will stay in touch with INEC, security agencies and other CSOs on online platforms for timely interventions where necessary.
“The pre-election analysis undertaken by YIAGA Africa, NOI polls and other CSO groups paint a bleak picture of the election should indicators of violence surveyed remain unaddressed.
Physical violence at campaign rallies, vandalism or destruction of property associated with candidates, stockpiling of small arms and light weapons and recruitment of armed thugs or militia groups are some of the indicators identified in the pre-election survey.
The statement further urged officials of security agencies on election duty to maintain neutrality and be ready to arrest anyone who commits electoral offence.
“INEC on the other hand must be seen to play its role as an unbiased umpire in the entire process to increase people’s confidence and trust in both the electoral process and the electoral management body.
“We note that Edo gubernatorial off-cycle election and that of Ondo state coming up on October 10 are litmus tests for the general elections in 2023 as such; all electoral stakeholders must ensure these elections are better and fairer than previous ones.”
The group also acknowledged the timely peace intervention of the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, that the peace accord signing by candidates of political parties on Tuesday, September 14 and the position of the international community especially the United States and United Kingdom’s Embassies are efforts to checkmate the trend of violence.
CODER appeals to all political actors in Edo State, especially the two dominant political parties to sue for peace and allow Edo people to speak through the ballot.