Itodo Samson, executive director, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), says electoral officials were bribed in the presence of security personnel during the Anambra governorship election.
In a statement on Sunday, Samson said the watching the vote (WTV) initiative YIAGA employed in observing the Anambra governorship election revealed six “critical incidents” of vote-buying.
He said the secrecy of the ballot was undermined in some polling units.
“The secrecy of the ballot remains a cardinal feature of democratic elections. Evidence abound that the secrecy of the ballot in this election was undermined in some polling units,” he said.
“This created an opportunity for vote buying across some polling units observed. There were also cases of bribery of election officials.
“These illegal acts occurred in the presence of security officials who made no arrests or attempts to abate the illegality.”
According to him, logistics for the election was “significantly poor especially in rural areas”.
He said from YIAGA’s findings, it was discovered that the registration area camps (RAC) were not activated in some local government areas due to the absence of security personnel and poor transportation arrangements by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“For Awka north and Awka south LGAs INEC officials arrived 67 percent and 69 percent of polling units by 7:30 am while the average for the state was only 28 percent,” Samson said.
“This relates to the early deployment of sensitive materials from the local government offices to the registration area centres and polling units.
“When compared to the 2013 Anambra governorship election data, YIAGA WTV notes a trend of poor management of deployment of election materials. In 2013, only 39 percent of polling units recorded arrival at 7:30am.”
He said in some polling units there were attempts by people to influence the polling officials, as there were incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence.
“YIAGA WTV has received reports of attempts by stakeholders especially politicians to compromise the results collation process at the local government collation centres. The transparency of the collation process is critical for the success of this election,” he said.
“We would like to inform all stakeholders, that YIAGA WTV has its estimates for the election results based on the untainted official results collected form the polling units. Therefore, we are able to expose and manipulation of the results at either ward or LGA collation centres.”