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Observer decries massive vote-buying, violence in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi election



The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Saturday decried the widespread vote-buying and violence in the Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi governorship elections.

A member of the CDD Election Analysis Centre (CDD-EAC), Dr. Jack Johnson, who addressed journalists at a media briefing on the off-cycle elections in Abuja, said the centre deployed over 150 fact-checkers and observers in the three states.

He added that a team of data clerks, reviewers and analysts was also put in place in its situation room in Abuja.

Johnson commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the early commencement of the election and the usage of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the three states.

He, however, said there were several reports of voter inducement in the three states.

The official said: “Observers reported incidents in PU 1, Ward 8 and PU 11, Ward 1 in Sagbama LGA in Bayelsa West.

“In Bayelsa Central, vote trading was reported in PU 16, Ward 6 in Yenegoa LGA, PU 22, Ward 13 in Southern Ijaw LGA with reports of voter inducements ranging from N5,000 – N22,000, including other items such as wrappers.

“In PU 30 and 31, Ward 13, along with money, rice was also shared to buy votes.

“We are concerned that there were allusions that it might be linked to the delayed flood and subsidy palliatives that state governments only started distributing two days ago.

“In Kogi, there were reports of vote-buying in PUs 004, 038 and 039 in Ward A of Lokoja LGA, where party agents were allegedly sharing out money to voters upon confirmation that they voted for their party candidates.

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“Two major parties’ agents were reported to have engaged in vote buying with N2000 to N3000 shared and same at PU3 Mbutu Ward, Aboh Mbaise LGA as well as PU11, Civic Centre Ward, Mbaitoli LGA.

“In PU 7, Central School UmuNakanu Ehime LGA, in Imo, there were reports that INEC ad hoc staff were given monetary inducements by party officials.

“The incidents of vote buying were concentrated in Mbaitoli-Ezinihitte, Owerri West and Njaba LGAs with the highest number of collected PVCs amongst the LGAs in the state with 150,012 and 134,192 cards.”

Johnson lamented that violence remained a sore point in this election.

He added: “Electoral violence was reported in Dekini LGA, specifically in Agala Ogane PU, Anyigba town, a thug was reportedly shot and killed by military officials while fleeing in an attempt to snatch a ballot box.

“There was a similar attempt in Ganaja PU, Ajaokuta LGA where the LGA chair was apprehended by voters.

“In Yenagoa LGA, observers reported that one person was shot at Famgbe community and, in PU 24 Ward, voting ended abruptly when thugs destroyed election materials at about 11:45 a.m.

“We note that in these area polling units, there was little or no presence of security officials.

“Similar instances were reported in Brass PU 7 Ward 7, observers reported that there were no security agents as late as 10:19 a.m. in spite of voting having started.”

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