A coalition of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) accredited election observers who monitored the just concluded governorship election in Yobe state, have declared the exercise in the state as free, fair and credible.
The observers also commended the leadership of INEC for what it described as neutrality during the process leadsing up to the final declaration of the winner.
In a statement signed Wednesday in Abuja by the coalition’s group leader, Okoi Tina, said despite the belief that Yobe state was an insurgency prone state, the exercise “went well and credible.”
According to the observers, the turn out by electorates was commendable and the state seemed to have enhanced voter education.
“As a coalition of INEC accredited election observers to Yobe state, we the undersigned, having duly performed our duties as INEC accredited observers through and thoroughly in Yobe state, undertake to address this world press conference on the true situation of the general elections in the state.
“We take this as a duty to inform the general public that the elections held in Yobe state were free, fair, smooth, and rancor free in all of its ramifications.
“As against the initial public opinion and general belief that Yobe state, having been an insurgence prone area, could pose a major threat to peaceful, free, and fair elections, the state was quite in a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere throughout the elections.
“Except for the insignificant skirmish that took place at the outskirts, of which the Nigerian military had quickly nipped in the bud, there was no incidence of any fracas or election related violence whatsoever.
“Electoral rules and guidelines were adequately followed. The usual party agent rancor that had always been the situation in any well contested election was totally absent as all party agents seemed to have known what they were expected to do at all time.”
Against the speculation in some quarters that election did not hold in some part of the state due to fear of Boko Haram, the group said: “the people came out in their large numbers with enthusiasm in their faces to cast their votes. They did not care about the blazing sun and they were never deterred by the long queues.
“The collation centers were adequately protected without any chance for mischief makers to seize the occasion. More intense was the Presidential polls because it was tight contest.
“The governorship elections were a little bit more relaxed because it was obvious to any stranger that Yobe state could possibly pass for a one part state. So, the people rather took it easier during the gubernatorial polls as the popularity of Mai Mala Buni, the National Secretary of the APC, and who contested under the All Progressives Congress (APC) was overwhelming. He eventually won the gubernatorial polls and has since been declared winner by the INEC.”