Despite the measures introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reduce vote buying in the Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State, contesting political parties and politicians still devised a new trend of vote buying to beat the system.
This is contained in the preliminary report of the election by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) who deployed 180 trained and accredited observers for the election.
“As against the usual money sharing at the polling units, our observers said that the agents of the political parties are now collating names for payment after the vote.
This was reported in EDE North Local government Ward 11 polling unit 3, 4, 5 and 11, Ayedire Local government Ward 5, Polling Unit 005, Atapka Osogbo local government ward 005, polling unit 007. All the leading political parties in the elections are involved in this despicable acts of vote trading,” the report signed by the CDD Director, Idayat Hassan said.
According to the report, INEC new policy banning the use of mobile phones and other recording devices in voting cubicles largely thwarted blatant vote buying.
The report stated that in most of the polling units observed, voters willingly complied with the policy, and in a case where such attempt to violate the policy, law enforcement agents and INEC officials saw to its enforcement.
“The Nigerian Police force tweeted the arrest of two voter buys arrested with six hundred. Our observers also reported the arrest of a vote buyer identified as Sunday, was arrested at Polling Unit 03, Ward 06 of Ifedayo Local Government Area but he was arrested and later released by police officers in Osun State.
In Ward 010, PU 004, Boripe LGA, our observer reported a voter snapping ballot paper after voting in the presence of security personnel. However, politicians deployed new tactics to perpetrate vote buying and selling during Osun Governorship election, ” the report said.
The report said that election materials arrived in PUs on time in most PUs; the accreditation and voting process commenced with minimal hitches to the voting process and that while some voters experienced slight challenges while passing through the card reader accreditation process, the card reader issues were not widespread enough, as to affect the ability of citizens to exercise their franchise.
“The voter turnout is impressive compared to previous off-cycle elections. We are hopeful it may be at par with the 53 per cent turnout recorded in the last 2014 governorship election of the state.
“We commend INEC for the introduction of tactile ballots in the elections. However, there are instances of lack of availability of magnifying glasses and materials in some polling units.
The priority voting introduced by the commission enables several elderly, pregnant women to vote quickly. However the assistance of the elderly raised concerns amongst party agents who alleged that the elderly arebeing manipulated to vote for other parties,” the report stated.
It however said that a minor fight was observed between an APC and PDP party agent at Ward 2, PU7 in Ejigbo shopping plaza, due to a misunderstanding on a woman whose name appeared twice in the voters’ register.
“However, security operatives in the centre settled the misunderstanding and promised to sort out the issue,” it said.