A Nigerian frontline election monitoring group, Yiaga Africa has expressed concern that the June 18, Ekiti governorship election may be an election decided by the highest bidder.
The group also commended Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the conduct of mock accreditation exercise in selected local government areas and polling units in the state using Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
Addressing a pre-election observation press conference for the impending election in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday, the programme director, Yiaga Africa, Cythia Mbamalu, however, expressed reservation over the exercise meant to test the functionality of the BVAS due to poor citizens’ participation in the process.
Mbamalu, who spoke alongside a board member of Yiaga Africa, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, said the spate of voter inducement which has taken a dimension of the door to door engagement may become the major determinant in the elections.
She said, “We are worried that, despite persistent campaigns against voter inducement, politicians have continued to prioritize vote trading over issue-based campaigns.
“Just like in the 2018 Ekiti governorship election, where mandates were presumed to be purchased rather than duly elected, this year’s election is shaping up to be a bigger money fiesta”.
For the election, Yiaga Africa deployed long term observers to observe the pre-election environment, finding a lot of pre-election phase indicators.
“The mock accreditation was conducted amidst poor publicity and a lack of information on the exercise by the INEC. The low participation and the few numbers of 12 sampled locations may not have sufficiently provided an adequate assessment of the deployment of the BVAS.”