Vote buying, intimidation marred re-run elections - EU observers

Vote buying, intimidation marred re-run elections - EU observers

- The EU election observers are not happy with the conduct of Saturday, March 23 re-run elections

- The international observers said they also witnessed cases of vote buying and intimidation of voters

- The organisation said party agents also interfered and political leaders did not do anything to control their supporters

The European Union Election Observation Mission on Monday, March 25, said that it saw great interference by party agents and instances of vote buying in the re-run election held on Saturday, March 23.

The mission through a statement issued on Monday, March 25, said it sent to all the five states that held the supplementary election, Vanguard reports.

The EU election observers also said that it witnessed a great level of insecurity during the electoral exercise as people were intimidated with weapons and security agencies were ineffective.

The group of international observers also said political leaders did nothing to control their supporters, while adding that so many people were pressurized into voting.

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The statement partly said: “A total of 20 observers followed polling, counting and collation of results. Extensive electoral security problems were observed in some areas, with groups of men with weapons intimidating and obstructing the process, and security agencies ineffective at protecting citizens’ right to vote.

“In particular, parts of Kano were largely inaccessible to EU observers and citizen observers and journalists were also obstructed. EU observers also witnessed increased interference by party agents and cases of vote-buying.

“Party leadership did not appear to take any steps to rein in their supporters. Given the high stakes and the reduced electorate involved, supplementary elections are systemically vulnerable to parties strategically pressurising voters and disrupting the process.

“In the polling units that could be fully observed, there were improved logistical arrangements and procedures were mostly followed, although there were problems with the secrecy of the ballot."

The observers mission also added that there were much instances of vote buying, intimidation, and harassment especially in Kano and Sokoto.

European Union election observers during the re-run of governorship and state House of Assembly Elections in Jos on Saturday. Photo credit: NAN

European Union election observers during the re-run of governorship and state House of Assembly Elections in Jos on Saturday. Photo credit: NAN
Source: UGC

It said: “In Nasarawa LGA in Kano, which accounted for approximately one-third of all registered voters for the supplementary governorship election, EU observers witnessed organised intimidation of voters.

“For example, groups of youths with clubs and machetes patrolled the streets, and people with party agent tags harassed voters. During collation in Kano, EU observers saw that several INEC polling staff had been attacked. Large groups of men with weapons were not contained by the police.

“EU observers also saw vote-buying in Sokoto by both the leading parties and indications of vote-buying in Kano. Citizen observers also reported party agents involved in vote-buying and bribery of polling staff and police."

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that in spite of the of the security that was beefed up in polling units at Kware, Gwadabawa and Illela local government areas in Sokoto state by the Police, Department of State Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, there were alleged cases of vote buying.

Party agents were allegedly buying votes and getting ballot papers from them to vote on their behalf.

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Source: Legit.ng

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