Re-run polls: YIAGA AFRICA raises alarm over rising vote-buying

Ahead of Saturday’s supplementary elections in parts of the country, the YIAGA-AFRICA, a civil society organisation (CSO), has expressed ‘serious concern’ over what it called the heightened incidence of voter inducement also known as vote buying.

The Chair, Watching The Vote (WTV) Working Group of YIAGA AFRICA, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, and Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA, Samson Itodo, raised the alarm Friday in Abuja at a news briefing on the 2019 Governorship and State Assembly Supplementary Elections.

He said the group would deploy 258 stationary observers and six roving observers, while 97 observers would be deployed to the local government and state result collation centres.

Abdu, who read the findings of the organisation, also said that there are challenges with INEC’s information management and communication, such that there were confusion and misinformation in public domain with respect to states and polling units where rerun governorship elections will be conducted.

He said that YIAGA AFRICA believes this confusion was informed by INEC’s poor data management and timely dissemination of information on the supplementary elections and that this, may affect voters turnout for the supplementary elections.

“In an attempt to woo voters, politicians have resorted to voter inducement using gift items, suspicious community empowerment programmes and cash handouts in locations considered to be swing wards and polling units. For all indications, the supplementary elections in some states will be determined by the highest bidder,” Abdu said.

While urging the security agencies to respect the rights of the electorates as they cast their votes, he said security deployment for elections should be commiserated with level of threats.

He urged them to remain nonpartisan and professional in their conduct and to also ensure proper coordination especially between the military and police.

He said, “It is important to note that the police is the lead security agency responsible for election security, such proper lines of communication and rules of engagement should be adhered to.”

He urged INEC to make public the data on permanent voter’s card (PVC) collection rates in the affected polling units in order to ensure election transparency, and to ensure accurate and timely deployment of election materials to affected polling units on Election Day.

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