Ekiti 2022: Yiaga Africa Second Pre-election Observation Report
The 2022 Ekiti State gubernatorial election will take place on June 18, 2022, to elect a new Governor for Ekiti State. The primaries were conducted between January 4 to 29, 2022 where the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party nominated Mr. Abiodun Oyebanji in a direct primary on January 27 while the People's Democratic Party (PDP) nominated Mr. Bisi Kolawole in an indirect primary on January 26. Both candidates of the APC and PDP have served in the government of Ekiti state in different capacities. The APC candidate; Mr. Abiodun Oyebanji was the former Secretary to the State Government while PDP’s Mr. Bisi Kolawole was the former Commissioner for Environment. Though the primaries for these two parties were contentious and resulted in certain intra-party conflicts, there seem to be some resolutions to the conflicts as both parties have accepted the candidates as their legitimate party nominees for the election.
Beyond the APC and the PDP, the emergence of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) with former governor Segun Oni as its candidate appears to have changed the political contest in the state. Traditionally, the governorship of the state since its creation in 1996 has been rotated between the APC (and its forebears) and the PDP, which have been alternating the position with none being able to succeed itself. Interestingly, the SDP is positioning itself as a third force with a supposed large following, contesting to win the election. Beyond these 3 parties, there are 13 other recognized political parties contesting in the race. In all, only 16 out of the 18 recognized political parties made it to the list contained in the notification released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 14, 2022.
With about five weeks left until the highly anticipated election, voter education and campaigns have intensified. The Watching The Vote (WTV) project continued its second round of pre-election observations. The findings from the second round of the pre-election observations revealed that election preparatory activities are ongoing by INEC. Voter education activities conducted by INEC remain consistent across the state. The WTV Pre-Election Observation (PREO) report also captured the activities of other key election stakeholders like Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Political parties and security agencies, and the National Orientation Agency (NOA). The summary findings reveal ongoing voter education and the commencement of active campaigns in the state. The WTV LTOs also report voter inducement in some LGAs.
Yiaga Africa’s WTV specifically trained and deployed Long-term observers (LTO) in the 16 LGAs to observe the pre-election environment until June 15, 2021. The subsequent section contains detailed reports of the observation findings and relevant recommendations for this reporting period.