The Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for the improvement in its logistics deployment during Saturday’s Governorship and State Assembly elections.
Prof. Adele Jinadu, the Chairman, CDD, said this at a news conference in its preliminary findings on the conduct of the elections in Abuja.
Jinadu said that INEC had fared better in the area of logistics deployment leading to prompter arrival of poll officials for the commencement of the elections.
He, however, said that vote buying and violence were some of the challenges that faced the elections.
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“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 8:41.
“There was even a report of INEC officials in Benue State having slept over at the polling unit to avoid late coming.
“However, incidents of vote buying, violence and intimidation during the polls were in Kano, Jigawa, Lagos, Enugu, Bayelsa, Rivers and Yobe states,” he said.
Jinadu said that CDD’s observation also indicated that the BVAS appeared to have largely worked well across the country.
Also, CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, said that data from CDD’s deployed 1,500 observers showed that there were more instances of BVAS working during the Governorship elections compared to the Presidential election of February 25, with this reality reflected across all six geo-political zones.
“This might be a reflection of the heightened political environment around governorship polls, the importance of local personalities in state-level politics, and the shortages of fuel and naira,” she said.
Hassan said that the report also showed that in the North-West, observers in all seven states reported increased reports of vote trading, primarily by political party agents.
She said that money was used alongside other materials such as food items, wrappers and a ‘credit voucher’ to buy votes and those items were to 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.
“In the South-East, there were reports of APGA and LP party agents using materials, phones and other souvenirs to entice voters in Anambra State.
“In the South-South, multiple states reported a desire for voters to show proof of their vote before being paid, with party agents reportedly compiling a list of their voters in Esan Central LGA, Edo State.”
Hassan said that CDD observers documented incidents of violence as well as voter suppression in some states.