The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has said that widespread vote buying and violence characterised the March 18th governorship and state assembly elections across the country.
In the brief signed by Chair of the CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC), Professor Adele Jinadu and Director, Idayat Hassan, the Centre said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fared better in the area of logistics deployment leading to prompt arrival of poll officials for the commencement of the elections.
CDD bemoaned incidents of vote buying, violence and intimidation during the polls in some states including Kano, Jigawa, Lagos, Enugu, Bayelsa, Rivers and Yobe.
Observers deployed by the centre in all seven states reported increased reports of vote trading, primarily by political party agents.
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It said money alongside other materials such as food items, wrappers and a ‘credit voucher’ were used to buy votes and those items were to be redeemed after the results. Similarly in the Northeast, “political party agents in Taraba infiltrated the queue, pretended to be voters and used the chance to offer cash for votes”.
CDD’s observation also indicated that BVAS appeared to have largely worked well across the country.
“In the Southwest, BVAS was correctly programmed for accreditation in over 95% of cases,” it added.
However, the group said there were occasional issues of non-functionality of BVAS.
The statement reads, “A concern that has cut across multiple zones is the reduced presence of security officials. Observers across the states in the South-south, Southwest and Northwest reported a much smaller security presence, especially when compared to the presidential election.
“This has led to repeated skirmishes and fights between voters, party agents and officials. For example, observers in Enugu reported clashes between the party representatives, while others in Jigawa highlighted similar issues between self-professed party members.
“Consequently, the think-tank identified voter suppression as a major factor shaping the conduct of elections. Furthermore, CDD said thuggery was used to disrupt the process.
“There were reports in Ukanafun LGA, Akwa Ibom, where thugs attacked a polling unit and scared away voters.Election materials were also hijacked at gunpoint in Emelia LGA and thugs also disrupted the process in Obio Akpor LGA, both in Rivers state.”