Despite efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to tame the trend, there were records of vote buying in the last Saturday’s by elections in Katsina, Bauchi and Kwara states, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa, has said. Daily trust reports
This was contained in the observers’ report of the YIAGA-Africa’s Watching The Vote (WTV) of the by-elections in Toro Federal Constituency in Bauchi State; Irepodun/Isin/Eiti Oke-Ero Federal Constituency in Kwara State, and Kankia/Kusada/Ingawa Federal Constituency in Katsina State and one state constituency in Cross River State.
This report also decried alleged “seeming non-cooperative posture of security operatives with INEC.”
The report was jointly presented yesterday in Abuja by the Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA, Samson Itodo; member, WTV Working Group, Ezenwa Nwagwu and Project Director, Ms. Cynthia Mbamalu.
According to the report, apart from low voters’ turnout, the management of the election logistics was so poor that INEC had to investigate possible internal sabotage especially in Bauchi State.
“The by-election recorded an abysmally low turnout of voters. Official data indicates the turnout rate for Bauchi at 21.6 per cent, Katsina 38 per cent and Kwara 24.4 per cent.
“The trend of a minority determining electoral outcomes and political leadership needs to be reversed. WTV observers noted that the secrecy of the ballot was compromised in some polling stations visited. Despite the reconfiguration of the polling units, people could see how voters marked their ballot papers.
“WTV observers reported incidence of vote buying in polling stations across the three federal constituencies,” the statement said.
It therefore urged INEC to ensure timely deployment of logistics and elections materials for the 2019 elections, and also urged security agencies to work closely with INEC and not at cross road for the overall success of the electoral process.