A political think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has expressed that public sale of votes, violence and intimidation are threatening the credibility of the governorship and State Houses of Assembly election that was held today, March 18 in most parts of the country.
The Executive Director of the group, Idayat Hassan, at a media briefing, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for promptly deploying logistics and prompt arrival of electoral officials, saying however that there were occasional issues of non-functionality of the Bi-modal Voters Accreditation System.
In a preliminary statement on the elections today, Idayat Hassan said that data from its 1,500 observers deployed across the country showed there were more cases of vote-buying during the governorship election compared to the presidential poll of February 25.
According to her, this reality reflected across all six geopolitical zones.
“In the North-West, observers in all seven states reported increased reports of vote trading, primarily by political party agents. Money was used alongside other materials such as food items, wrappers and ‘credit voucher,’ and those items would be redeemed after the results.
“Similarly in the North East, political party agents in Taraba infiltrated the queue, pretended to be voters and used the chance to offer cash for votes.”
She said that CDD observer data showed that across the southwest zone, INEC officials arrived on time and promptly commenced the process in over 80 per cent of observed polling units.
“This trend is broadly consistent across the six geo-political zones. In Anambra State 75 per cent of polling units had INEC officials who arrived on time with voting commencing on average at 8:41am.
“There was even a report of INEC officials in Benue state having slept over at the polling unit to avoid late coming.”