Observers Report Vote Buying, Bribery of Policemen

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Two groups of independent observers that monitored the process and conduct of last Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State said their findings on the field revealed monetary inducement of voters.

The groups, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) and Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room in their separate reports on their activities during the poll, yesterday said the exercise was characterised by many irregularities in some areas.

They said the practice, whereby voters were given money before they voted for candidate, poses threat to the Nigeria’s democracy.

However, the groups said the noticed anomalies were very minimal and not enough to discredit the exercise that produced Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the governor-elect of the state.

Speaking for YIAGA at a press conference, which was the third during the election, the coordinator, Mr. Samson Itodo, said irregularities specifically observed during the election  included, vote buying, bribery, card malfunctioning, intimidation and harassment of voters, voting officials or party agents and lack of secrecy in the voting process.

He said in some cases, voters publicly displayed their  ballot papers before inserting them in the ballot boxes.

Itodo, who commended the INEC for not succumbing to pressure to delay the election, added that however, none of the irregularities was widespread enough to undermine the credibility of the overall process of the election.

Speaking for the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room at a separate press conference, the convener of the group, Mr. Clement Nwakwo, said it observed that security agents were involved in some acts that were against the ethics of their profession during the poll.

“Security personnel generally carried out their duties in a civil and professional manner, however, there were isolated incidents of misconduct by some of them,” he alleged.