TAF Africa scores INEC high on Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi elections

Dominic said in Bayelsa, 54 per cent of the PUs commenced voting between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

The Albino Foundation (TAF) Africa, a non-profit organisation, has scored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) high in the conduct of the governorship polls in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi.

The Programme’s Manager, TAF Africa, George Dominic, made the commendation while briefing newsmen in Owerri on the participation of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Saturday’s off-cycle governorship polls.

Dominic said TAF Africa deployed 90 trained observers across polling units with registered PWDs in the three states.

He said the focus was to evaluate the compliance of INEC with the provision of assistive tools, as mandated by the Electoral Act, and gauge the overall experience of voters with disabilities at the polls.

He said that in Imo, 58 per cent of the polling units (PUs), which were observed, commenced accreditation and voting at 8:30 a.m., while in Kogi, 78 per cent of the PUs commenced voting between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

Dominic said in Bayelsa, 54 per cent of the PUs commenced voting between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

“Of the 90 observers deployed in 90 PUs, with registered PWDs across the three states, it was reported by our observers that 80 per cent of PWDs were allowed to exercise their priority voting rights in Kogi, 75 per cent in Imo and 67 per cent in Bayelsa.

“As we reach the midpoint of the day, TAF Africa presents its findings from observers in the field, transmitted to TAF Africa’s PWDs’ election hub through our innovative Election Observer App and dashboard.

“In Kogi, 94 per cent of the 30 polling units show that INEC officials arrived earlier than 8.30 a.m. designated for accreditation and voting to commence.

“In Imo, 99 per cent of the 30 PUs registered PWDs display that INEC officials arrived before 8:30 a.m.

“While in Bayelsa, INEC officials arrived earlier than 8:30 a.m. at a percentage of 77 per cent of the 30 PUs observed,” Dominic said.

He also said that assistive tools, such as braille ballot guide, EC30E PWD posters, and magnifying glasses were deployed in 77 per cent of the 30 PUs, where the group deployed observers in Kogi.

“They were deployed at 67 per cent in Bayelsa, while in Imo, they were deployed at a percentage of 55 of the 30 PUs,” Dominic further said.

He said that by 9:37 a.m. in Primary School Amawo, Atta 1, Ikeduru LGA of Imo, there was a commotion and near-violence scene between party agents due to public canvassing of votes and vote buying.

The group said no PUs with registered PWDs reported any major case of violence.

It urged security agencies, INEC, stakeholders, political parties and their supporters to work together toward ensuring that elections in the country remained credible and peaceful.

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