My participation as an observer in the just concluded Ondo State governorship election was what I can only regard as an eye-opening, wonderful and adventurous experience.
The observation service gave me the opportunity to explore new places where have never been to before, I got to know about new languages and lots more. It also gave me the chance to experience how elections are being conducted in the country.
I was so delighted when I had the opportunity to participate in the Ondo 2020 election observation because I love journalism, participating in accountability projects and engaging people with accurate information.
I was posted to Okitipupa local government area of the state alongside two other colleagues namely: Olamijulo Timilehin and Edhereveno Onome.
My Pre-Election Observation
Myself together with my colleagues got to Okitipupa local government area where we were posted to on Friday, October 9th,2020 around 1:10 pm (a two and a half journey from Akure city). We made arrangements for our hotel rooms and the bike men that will be carrying us around on the election day which lasted for about thirty minutes. We then started our Pre-election observation.
We proceeded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office located along Aye/Ore expressway. On getting there, there were lots of voters checking their names on the voters’ registration list in preparation of the forthcoming election.
However, I made enquiries about the deployment of security personnel and distribution of election materials to different wards and polling units in the local government. An INEC official which I approached confirmed they have been distributed to where they supposed to be.
A white 18-passenger was seen coming out of INEC office conveying election materials before I approached the INEC official. Also, five vans and four 18-passenger bus full of policemen were spotted coming into the town.
I left the INEC office to some places in the community to see the look of things and know where some political figures will be voting since I know nowhere and it is my first time in the town. I visited Igbotako, Ikoya, Ilutitun1, 11 & 111, and Erekiti. These places are along the same route which is a 45-minute to 2-hour journey from Okitipupa, the headquarter of Okitipupa local government area.
I consulted some people in these places to know their preparation towards the coming election and they all confirmed that they are hundred per cent ready. Some of them were so accommodating to the extent that they pointed the polling units of some politicians to me. That was where I got to know where PDP running mate, Hon Gboluga Ikengboju(the current member representing Okitipupa/Irele at the Federal house of representatives) and Femi Agagu, the Commissioner for education. After that, I retired to my hotel room, tired, at about 6:45 pm.
All preparations had been made by me and my team members for smooth observation of the election process. The wards had been distributed among ourselves to enhance efficient coverage. Out of the 23 wards in the local government area, I chose to be in charge of 8 wards which are; Erinje, Igbotako 1, Igbotako 11, Iju-Odo/Erekiti, Ikoya/Oloto, Ilutitun1, Ilutitun11 and Ilutitun111. Olamijulo Timilehin covered Ode-Aye 1, Ode-Aye 11 while Edhereveno Onome was in charge of Iyeka/Igbodigbo, Okitipupa 1 and Okitipupa 11.
I chose to be in charge of the larger part of the wards because I was the team lead and I need to work assiduously. Also, they are on the same route and because of the political figures there.
I woke up as early as 5:40 am and started preparing for the job of the day. I dressed up and called my bike man, Mr Mathew, to come and pick me up.
I visited the places earlier mentioned from one polling unit to the other. At exactly 7:45 am I got to Ward 06, polling unit 002 at St Joseph’s RCM, Ikoya where the Presiding Officer and the assistant Presiding Officer are getting ready for the commencement of the election. The told voters to wear their nose masks else, they will be denied their right to vote. I also went to ward 06, PU 001.
At exactly 8:30 am when the election process started, I was at Ward 06, PU 005 at LA primary school BLK 111, Ode Ikoya. From there, I moved from different polling units.
I captured Honourable Gboluga Ikengboju live where he exercised his franchise at Ward 09 PU 010, Iju-Odo/Adekanle, DEF C&S MOD SCH BLK 1, to mention a few.
After the election process, I moved down to Stella Marris school where the results were collated and left there 1 am after the total local government results had been declared by the Returning Officer.
This story has been published on CAMPUS REPORTER with very minimal editing to preserve the original voice of the author.
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