Despite the rising tensions, and pockets of violence during electioneering in some parts of Ondo State which has heated up the polity, in a survey conducted by CLEEN Foundation, some indigenes are of the opinion that the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo state slated for 10 October 2020, will be peaceful.
This was revealed in the survey tagged: Election Security Threats Assessment on Ondo Governorship Election, 2020 which was made available to Neptune Prime.
The possibility of a peaceful election according to respondents will be hinged on the professional and competent conduct by key actors during the election.
In the survey, about 851 respondents across 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) were administered with the questionnaire designed by the Electoral Institute of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and CLEEN Foundation and it shows that 86.4 per cent of the respondents believe that the election will be peaceful while 4.3 per cent of respondents think otherwise.
Although, a larger percentage of respondents believe that “exclusion and discrimination against the youths, undue influence of money, godfatherism as well as troublesome politicians, political parties, leaders and candidates, distribution, location and inadequacy of polling units and voting points, political interference in the work of INEC” could trigger violence in some areas in the state.
Also, “political thugs, cult groups and religious extremists could pose security threats” on the day of the election and after the election.
The Foundation is urging key actors that would participate in the election such as “INEC officials, political party agents, security agencies, the judiciary and the media” to live up to their responsibilities in ensuring a professional approach in the scheme of things during and after the election.
CLEEN Foundation, therefore recommends that “collaboration and continuous stakeholders’engagement (INEC, political parties, security agencies, mass media, and CSOs), intensification of political education and sensitization of citizens by stakeholders as well as effective regulation of the mass media in ensuring compliance with established rules and standards; and punishment for defaulters should be strictly abided and detection and punishment for the broadcasting as well as publishing of fake news and hate speech” should be meted out on those found wanting.
The Foundation is also urging the umpire and the government to give “greater attention to the training, welfare and the professionalism of security agents in ensuring effective regulation of political finance to reduce the undue influence of money special engagement with young people by stakeholders is critical, and also, various security agencies should act promptly in responding to the early warning signs identified in this and other related reports as well as arrest and prosecute electoral offenders” if the need arises.