A Civil Society Organisation, YIAGA AFRICA, has listed six major critical incidents that characterised the supplementary elections in in 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Saturday, March 23.
The organisation had earlier deployed a total of 361 observers for the elections.
Governorship elections took place in Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states.
State Assembly elections in Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Edo, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Lagos, Nassarawa, Osun, Plateau, Sokoto and Taraba.
There were also observers deployed for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) area council elections in Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada and Kuje.
YIAGA AFRICA at mid-day briefing in Abuja on the elections, said it had received the following critical incidents from her observers;
1. Voter Suppression and Intimidation
YIAGA AFRICA received reports on voter suppression manifested in the form of denying voters access to polling units by political thugs. This was prevalent in Kano state in the specific locations;
● In Kofa Gida Allahrama PU 008, Kanawa Cikin Gari Ward 05, in Sumaila LGA; Zango PU 021, Karaye ward 03, Karaye LGA; and Agawawa, PU 012, Bichi ward 02, Bichi LGA in Kano state, voters believed to be supporters of one of the major parties were harassed by party thugs. In some cases, the thugs chased out the voters from the polling unit.
2. Intimidation of observers and media reporters
● In PUs 008 and 010, Kwarkiya Ward of Minjibir LGA Kano state, WTV Observers’ Election Observation Checklist were snatched and destroyed by thugs alleged to be supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
● Observers were also chased away in polling unit 008, Kanawa ward; Cikin Gari ward 05, in Sumaila LGA; and PU 07, Batayya ward 02, Albasu LGA in Kano state. In Zango PU 021, Karaye ward 03, Karaye LGA in Kano state, observers and media reporters were chased away by political party thugs.
3. Disruption of the electoral process
YIAGA AFRICA also received reports of destruction of the election materials, clash between political party agents and political thugs which resulted in disruption of the process. For instance
● Election materials for Azendi-Eshi Council Ward-02 of Ukum LGA in Benue state were burnt before deployment to polling units. This affected the commencement of the elections in all the polling units under this ward.
● In Tse Akough- Near Tse Ak Polling unit 012, Yaav Ward, Kwande LGA in Benue state, a political party thug attempted to sn*tch the ballot papers and it resulted to a fracas between party agents at the polling unit. The security officials intervened by providing security for INEC officials.
● A clash between APC and PDP supporters disrupted the process and threatened voters and observers access to Naadatul Islam primary school polling unit, Gwammaja ward 21, Dala LGA and PU 021 (Zango 4), Karaye ward of Karaye LGA, Kano state. This was later resolved after the police intervened.
● In Kofar Gidan Litti Kulku l, PU 020, Yelwa ward 12 of Dala LGA, Kano state, voting process commenced after 10am due to disruption of the electoral process and determination of political party thugs to prevent commencement of polls. Voting was also disrupted in Dudu PU 010, Rara ward 03, Raba LGA in Sokoto as political thugs were reported to have snatched the ballot box for the polling unit.
4. Vote Buying
Widespread reports of vote buying and selling were received from polling units in Plateau, Kano and Benue states.
5. Bribery and Conspiracy
YIAGA AFRICA received reports of bribery of polling officials and security officials in Angwa Kasua 001 PU, ward 11, Mangu LGA in Plateau state. In PU 001, Kodape Primary School, Karu, Nassarawa state, security agents particularly the Nigerian police received bribes from party agents. Embarrassingly, the negotiation for the bribe resulted in a brawl between police and party agents.
6. Threat to Secrecy of the Ballot
In PU 011 Darki Zango Islamiya, ward Darki, Wudil LGA in Kano state, voting was conducted without a voting cubicle, with party agents allowed to cross-check how each voter voted.
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