A non-government organization, Centre for Democracy and Development, (CDD) has warned that the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Union (NURTW) may frustrate the process of conducting a timely, peaceful, credible, and transparent gubernatorial election in Ondo State on Saturday.
CDD, which gave the warning on Tuesday in its pre-election reports, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be watchful of the transport union ahead of the weekend poll.
The report, signed by CDD’s director, Idayat Hassan, observed that the NURTW leadership in the state and the members of the Motorcyclists Union had wielded more influence in the deployment of logistics and voting materials.
The CDD explained that its investigation ahead of the election had shown that the transport unions in the state were partisan and might decide to create “logistic and transport problems” by deliberately delaying and getting election materials to the voting areas.
The report partly reads, “The NURTW played a prominent albeit partisan role in previous elections and remains on course to leverage its presence towards the realization of partisan objectives. The closeness of the union to partisan interests could impact on the credibility of key processes.
“The leaders of the NURTW in some sense would be fighting for their survival because the tradition is that every NURTW leadership leaves with any administration voted out.
“Incidentally, the NURTW is the body INEC relies on for transportation of electoral materials. This may create a problem for INEC in the area of getting materials to all voting areas in the state. Apart from the NURTW, the militants are another group of actors which would wield influence on the poll.”
CDD pointed out that supporters of the two main political parties could disrupt the election and cause widespread violence.
The organization expressed concerns over an upsurge in political tension in at least 11 of the 18 local government areas of the state with several reported cases of election-related violence.
CDD added that the Akure South and Idanre Local Government Areas of the state recorded the highest number of violent cases with at least 23 different cases which were masterminded by political thugs during campaigns.
It added that 34 incidents of electoral violence were reported between August and early October 2020 during political campaigns in the state.
CDD called on the security agencies to be more strategic in the deployment of officers for the election, noting that the presence of security in the areas with a history of election violence would prevent violence.