OrderPaper, Nigeria’s premier and pre-eminent policy think-tank and legislative interface organization has said that the governorship elections held on Saturday were characterized by vote buying and selling.
The organisation said it deployed 400 observers to monitor the 2023 governorship and state assembly elections nationwide.
In its preliminary report on the elections signed by the Communications Lead,
Voter Project, Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq, OrderPaper said that political party agents influenced vote buying and selling in states like Cross River, Adamawa, Ogun, Ondo and Imo.
The organization however commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for early commencement of voting.
The statement read in parts: “Compared with the Presidential and National Assembly elections, there is a marked improvement in the arrival of INEC officials for the Governorship and State Assembly elections. The average time of arrival and opening of polling units stood generally at 9:00 am in many parts of the country.
“Similarly, from observation of the data collated thus far, the voting process has been described as largely smooth and peaceful by our citizen observers, especially in select polling units in states like Kebbi, Anambra, Oyo, Nasarawa and Niger.
“However, there are large reports of low voter turnout resulting from voter intimidation by thugs, political party agents and voter apathy linked to perceived mismatch of voting and results announced in the February 25 Presidential and National assembly elections. States such as Enugu, Niger, Plateau, Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Adamawa, Taraba and Jigawa have recorded the lowest voter turnout going by feedback received so far.
“There are also reports of political party agents trying to influence vote buying and selling in states like Cross River, Adamawa, Ogun, Ondo and Imo. Particularly in Imo, there were some cases of systematic vote-buying.
“On the whole, while INEC appeared to have deployed early across many of the polling units sampled, the issue of voter suppression was flagged, especially as thugs have been reported to disrupt voting and deploy violent intimidation to prevent voters from coming to cast their vote in some areas in Lagos, Oyo, Nassarawa, and Imo, among others.