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CDD: Vote buying, voter inducement characterised Edo election

CDD: Vote buying, voter inducement characterised Edo election
September 19
22:31 2020

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) says the governorship election in Edo state was characterised by massive vote buying and voter inducement.

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The election observer group also indicted law enforcement agents for failing to arrest and prosecute political actors who engaged in vote buying.

The CDD’s position is contained in its preliminary findings on the election, released on Saturday in Abuja, and signed by Idayat Hassan, the organisation’s director.

“CDD observers reported cases where tickets were also given in lieu of cash for voters to vote and then return to use the ticket for collection of the cash. In several other cases, as reported by our observers, cash of between N1,000 and N5,000 was distributed to voters who agreed to cast their ballot for the party paying for the vote,” she said.

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“Vote buying was widespread in this election. For instance, CDD observers reported seeing voters discreetly exchanging their voters’ cards with money from party agents at polling unit 8, ward 2 of Okpon area of Ovia south-west, Benin. It was a similar case in Etsako central, ward 1, units 5 and 6 where voters sold their votes for N1,000.

“CDD observers reported that law enforcement officials largely looked the other way while vote buying was going on. No efforts whatsoever were made to bring to book the perpetrators of these acts, which corrupt the electoral process.

“The brazen manner with which votes were bought and sold in the open calls to question the relevance of the over 30,000 police officers deployed to enforce the law during the election. CDD is concerned that despite expending time and resources to deploy thousands of law enforcement officials to the electoral space, the officers did nothing in the face of infractions such as vote buying.”

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According to the report, there were pockets of violence in some wards which disrupted the election.

“In Ologbo, Ikpoba-Okha LGA, for example, one person was reported to have been shot while in Ihomwonde LGA, ward 5, PU 1, 2, and 3, voting process was reported not totally peaceful as conflicts erupted amongst party agents that resulted to disruption of the process. In Egor LGA, electoral materials were allegedly hijacked in ward 9, unit 15 by political thugs who are hell-bent to subvert the electoral process.

“CDD observers also reported an incident of shooting in Orhionmwon Local Government Area. Party agents were also major drivers of violence in areas with incidents as they engaged in altercations, which later snowballed into fisticuffs.”

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