KogiDecides: Vote buying ongoing in certain areas – Report

Voters on voting line
FILE: Women Voters on queue at the 2019 election

Less than 24 hours to the polls for the Kogi governorship election, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) said its accredited observers have spotted cases of vote-buying in areas in the state.

The group said this in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES and signed by Idayat Hassan, its director.

Specifically, the group said it observed ”the distribution of gift items such as Ankara textile materials and rice in Lokoja and Koton Karfe local government areas”.

The statement further noted that ”there has been ‘inducement’ of INEC Supervising Presiding Officers (SPOs) across the 21 LGA of the state”.

“The reports indicate that one of the parties has made overtures, and has been inducing the SPOs with bribes $1,000 (N350,000) to buy them over, and get them (the SPOs) to do their bidding on election day,” the statement read.

“These reports were further confirmed from Bureau de Change (BDC) Operators within the state who were interviewed. The BDC operators report that there are has been an upsurge in the number of customers calling to change USD1000 to Naira.

“The use of financial inducement to subvert the credibility of the electoral process is antithetical to the democratic ethos. CDD condemns in the strongest possible terms all forms of inducement of poll officials.”

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Voter inducement is against the Electoral Act 2010. Section 124(4) of the Act states that:

“Any person who commits the offence of bribery is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both.”

The group called on the EFCC, ICPC and the police to be on the guard to check financial inducement.

It also called on INEC to up its game in weeding out unscrupulous electoral officials.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how an election observation group, YIAGA Africa, through its Watching The Vote (WTV) project, in its pre election reports said 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 said its findings also revealed that political parties were moving from house to house documenting names and addresses of voters with PVCs.

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