A civil society organisation, Yiaga Africa, has said that food, cash, drinks, fabrics and other items were used to induce voters during this Saturday’s Governorship and State Assembly elections holding across the country.
According to Yiaga Africa, it received reports of 15 confirmed cases of vote buying in eight States in the governorship and House of Assembly elections with food, cash, alcoholic drinks fabric and a pack of pasta.
The organisation also said there were intimidation and harassment of voters by political parties and destruction/hijacking of election materials by thugs.
While calling on INEC to take urgent remedial actions in polling units where cases of infractions and non-compliance with the 2022 Electoral Act took place, to deepen the legitimacy of the final outcome of elections, the organization advised security agencies to respond promptly to reports of voter intimidation and attacks at the polling units to accord citizens the opportunity to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
A Board member of Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote, Ezenwa Nwagwu, stated these during the organisation’s mid-day press conference in Abuja on Saturday.
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He said, “Vote buying/bribery: Yiaga Africa received 15 confirmed reports of vote buying across 8 states. In Sarkin Mudu Polling Unit (016) in Giade LGA of Bauchi, PDP agents have been sighted bribing accredited voters with N1,000, a wrapper and a pack of spaghetti each. The voters hand over their ballot papers to party agents in exchange for the bribe.
“A similar report was received from PU 006 Rangan Ward, Warji LGAof Bauchi on the distribution of wrappers, N2,000 and a pack of spaghetti to voters. Party agents for the APC and PDP party are reported to have shared food, cash and alcoholic drinks to some voters, this happened in Apir market square 1, Makurdi, Benue state. In PU O6 Ward 05 Isoko North, Delta State, INEC officials for the polling unit received cash gift from the APC party agent present.
“Interference by security agents: A report alleging the abduction of NNPP party stakeholders by DSS operatives has been received from Bichi LGA, Kano state, where DSS operatives are reported to be arresting party agents and key stakeholders of the NNPP.
“Intimidation and harassment of voters: Observers reported intimidation and harassment of voters. In Kankarofi Quranic Sch III Polling Unit, Kano Municipal LGA in Kano state, party agents disrupted the voting process on if the voting should be closed ballot as opposed to open ballot. Reports of intimidation of voters were also received from Ijando and ward 6/001 Akefan community in Alimosho and LGA in Lagos state.
“Obstruction of election observation: In PU 06 Ward 03 Ndokwa West in Delta State, an APC party agent prevented a Yiaga Africa observer from observing the process, stating that the LGA is under the control of the APC. Also, in Buhari Islamiyya School II Polling Unit, Madungurun Ward, Gwale LGA, Kano State, our observer was attacked by party agents.
“Disruption of the process: Clash between party agents in Zango IV polling unit in Karaye Ward (19-22-03-021) of Karaye LGA in Kano, has led to the disruption of the voting process. The voting process has also been halted in Polling Unit IV in Sagamu LGA of Ogun State due to intimidation of voters and polling officials by supporters of the PDP. Party agents also interfered with the process in PU 030 GRA Waterboard, Rimi ward, Keffi LGA, Nasarawa State, where party agents were reported to be folding ballot papers on behalf of voters. In Kankarofi Quranic Sch. III Kano Municipal, Party agents are interfering with the process so they can see how voters mark their ballots.
“Destruction/hijacking of election materials: Hoodlums destroyed ballot papers and ballot boxes for the Fulatan Sabon/Gari polling unit in Rogo LGA, Kano State. The process was halted as voters scampered for safety. At Kabuga PU 022, Gwale LGA of Kano State, thugs affiliated with the APC snatched ballot boxes for the PU resulting in voters fleeing for safety. Election materials for Wuryo Ward in Gassol LGA in Taraba, were hijacked by armed thugs during a clash between the residents of Wurya and Panya ward over the allocation of election materials. One person was reportedly stabbed by the thugs. At PU 003 Ward 4 Etim Ekpo LGA, Akwa Ibom, PDP agents instigated a fight leading to the destruction of the voting cubicle, ballot box and ballot papers for the polling unit,” Nwagwu stated.