Osun Decides: ‘There’s high level of voter inducement, secrecy of cubicles compromised’, observer groups allege

Saturday’s Osun State gubernatorial election is said to have been marred by a number of malpractices among which were the high level of inducement and compromise of the voters’ cubicles.

This was contained in separate addresses of Dr. Hussaini Abdu, who is the Board Chairman of Yiaga Africa, and Ene Obi, the Convener of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room in Osogbo.

Yiaga Africa, an election monitoring body, has recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should uphold the secrecy of ballots in future elections in the country.

Giving the appraisal, Hussaini Abdu, added that the electoral umpire should also audit the newly created Polling Units and ensure even distribution of polling units.

While observing acts of vote buying in Akinlalu and Iree towns, YIAGA Africa disclosed that information from its observers in the field revealed voter intimidation by All Progressives Congress (APC) thugs was carried out in Iragbiji.

It also stated that in Ogbaagba town, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) thugs threatened to disrupt the electoral process.

Referring to the service of security agencies during Saturday’s voting, Abdu recommended that security personnel conduct themselves with civility.

Yiaga also suggested that appropriate sanctions should be imposed for electoral act violation.

According to Ene Obi, “The BVAS were deployed according to the number of registered voters. In polling units with over 1,000 voters, INEC kept to its promise to deploy two BVAS machines. The machines functioned credibly well. There were issues with the fingerprint verifications, however the facial capture worked very well recording approximately one minute for accreditation and voting in Osogbo and in outside areas, it took longer.

“Yiaga Africa received and verified the following critical incident reports: Voter Inducement/Bribery: Yiaga Africa received reports of acts of vote buying perpetrated by agents of the APC and PDP in some polling units.

“For instance, PU 009, Akinlalu Commercial Grammar School, Ward 01 in Ife North. The party agents strategically positioned themselves by the voting cubicle to see how voters marked their ballots.

“In PU 003 Opp. Olomu Mosque in Osogbo, PDP party agents were seen handing out between N2,000 and N5,000 to induce voters. Also, in Disu Polling Unit 003, ward 7 in Orolu LGA, APC agents were seen distributing N4,000 to voters who voted for the party while PDP party agents were seen distributing N2,000 to induce voters.

“There was open negotiation of buying and selling of votes well-coordinated by the polling agents in many of the polling units. There were no complaints from any of them against each other. Codes and coupons were used to extract commitments from voters as opposed to the blatant money exchanging hands observed in the Ekiti State Governorship election.”

The groups, however, commended the people of the state for coming out early to cast their votes especially the elderly who waited in queues patiently.

(Nigeria Telegraph)

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