An election observation group, YIAGA Africa, through its Watching The Vote (WTV) project, says voters in Bayelsa and Kogi states are trading their permanent voters’ cards for N500 and N1,000 ahead of the governorship elections in the two states.
The group disclosed this in a report from its observers it deployed to all the local government areas in the states.
According to the report, findings revealed that political parties were moving from house to house documenting names and addresses of voters with PVCs.
Vote buying is a practice of inducing voters to make them vote for a particular candidate during an election. It has remained a major concern during Nigerian elections.
”WTV findings reveal that buying and selling of PVCs still exists. WTV LTOs reported political parties moving from house to house in Ankpa LGA, Kogi state, documenting names and polling unit numbers and addresses of citizens with PVCs.
”While offering advance payments of five hundred naira (N500), ahead of the election. In Bayelsa (Yenagoa LGA), findings also reveal that some citizens in Opolo and Gbarian area were selling their PVCs for five hundred (N500) and one thousand (N1,000) naira.
YIAGA Africa, which said it deployed 1077 Citizen Observers in both states, also warned of the recruitment of political thugs and stockpiling of weapons in the two states ahead of the gubernatorial polls.
”WTV reports highlight possible threats to the peaceful conduct of the election with the observation of the presence of small arms and weapons in some LGAs.
”LTOs identified a community called Okabb in Ankpa LGA, being used for the storage of ammunition and the recruitment of thugs. Though the ammunition were discovered to have been stored prior to the 2019 General Election.
”Other reports of recruitment of political thugs were from communities in Yenagoa and Sagbama LGA in Bayelsa State and in Okehi and Idah in Kogi State.”
The group added that its team monitored and tracked voter inducement through the distribution of money or gift items.
“The WTV LTOs found out that political party candidates or their supporters are distributing money and gift items such as vehicles in communities in Yenagoa, Bayelsa and in Okehi and Ankpa of Kogi,” it said.
The group also said it would deploy Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) election observation which would aid the monitoring of elections in both states.
YIAGA Africa also deployed the PVT in the just concluded 2019 general elections.
”YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV Election Day deployment adopts the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology for election day observation at the polling units and will also be deploying observers to the LGA collation centres.
”The PVT is a proven and advanced observation methodology that employs well-established statistical principles and utilises sophisticated information technologies,” the group said.