Political Thugs, Cult Groups May Threaten Osun Election, Observers Warn
- Ahead of the 2022 gubernatorial election in Osun state, Yiaga Africa has rolled out its pre-election report
- Yiaga Africa in its report raised an alarm over a possible cult or political thug attack during the election
- The group also noted that there is a high rise in voter inducement activities in the state with N5000 as the least amount per voter
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Osun, Osogbo - Yiaga Africa, a leading election observer group has raised an alarm that the Osun governorship election billed for Saturday, July 16 may be threatened by activities of political thugs and cult groups.
This was contained in Yiaga Africa's Watching The Vote Pre-election observation report for Osun state made available to Legit.ng on Monday, June 13.
The organisation said it deployed long-term observers to all 30 local government areas in Osun state to assess preparatory activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) towards the election, the security planning, activities of election stakeholders, campaigns, and activities of political parties, and voter education in the state and violence monitoring.
According to the report, Yiaga Africa's observation team tracked and reported activities that could affect the planning of the election and the peaceful conduct of the election in Osun state.
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Some of the activities reported according to the report are violent physical attacks during political party meetings or campaigns and vandalism of properties belonging to party supporters.
Yiaga Africa said, it specifically received reports of political thugs attacking PDP party leaders while holding a meeting on Saturday, May 7 in Ede South LGA; and APC supporters being attacked after a rally in Gbongan, Ayedaade LGA, on Monday, May 23.
Yiaga Africa also noted an increase in the activities of cult groups in some LGAs. Reports of politicians engaging in the services of cult groups during rallies or campaign trail were received from Ilesa West LGA.
Other early warning signs of electoral violence according to Yiaga Africa include vandalism or the destruction of billboards belonging to political party opponents. This was majorly recorded in Ilesa West LGA, Ward 1, Itakogun street on Tuesday, May 10.
Voter inducement on rampage in Osun - Yiaga Africa
Similarly, the organisation also tracked voter inducement in the form of distribution of money and gift items to voters and the purchase of PVCs in Atakumosa West LGA. "
Long term observers witnessed and heard of the distribution of money and food items by candidates or their supporters while campaigning in Boluwaduro, Ejigbo, Ife North, Ifedayo, Ilesa East, Ilesa West Irepodun, Isokan, Odon-Otin and Orolu LGAs".
The reports says:
"politicians distributed food items like rice, beans, garri, and semolina; and money ranging between N2,000 and N5,000 per voter".
Yiaga Africa also lamented poorly targeted voter education will impact the participation of marginalised group in the Osun election.
The report says:
"Beyond the politics of the parties, is the role of women and the near absence of women candidates in the governorship race, with no female candidate for the office of the Governor and only 6 female deputy governorship candidates".
2023 election: Allegations of extortion in CVR Centers by INEC officials emerge
In another development, Yiaga Africa calls on the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the CVR exercise by three weeks.
It also called for investigation of allegations of bribery and non-deployment of personnel in some Registration Centers.
Commends INEC for deploying additional 209 machines to Kano, Lagos, and five states in the Southeast.
Ekiti 2022: 541 trained observers to monitor governorship election across 16 LGAs
Meanwhile, Yiaga Africa says it has trained 541 citizen observers billed to monitor the entire stages of the election in Ekiti.
These observers are expected to be deployed to all the 16 local government areas of the state to monitor and observe the governorship polls.
Yiaga Africa has urged citizen observers to imbibe the core value of integrity, accountability, and transparency during their responsibility as election observers.