Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has alerted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on possible increase in vote-buying in the July 16 Osun governorship election, calling for stronger monitoring.
Prof. Adele Jinadu,Chairman, CDD Election Analysis Centre (CDD-EAC) said this in the Centre’s pre-election statement on the Osun poll in Abuja on Thursday.
Jinadu said that the Centre wanted a stronger monitoring of the election by INEC to tackle vote-buying.
He said that the Centre sent observers to Osun, ahead of the election and the CDD-EAC observed some things that may dent the smooth conduct of the election, particularly vote-buying.
He said that the Centre noticed that INEC improved on its pre-election activities and was prepared to conduct the election.
“Vote buying may be a dent on the Osun election, in spite of the Electoral Act, the spate of vote-buying has not reduced.
“This was evident in the Ekiti governorship election and likely to be worse in the Osun governorship election,” he said.
Jinadu said that Nigerians ought to take steps to stop the trend by making sure that vote buying was tackled.
Prof. Victor Isumonah, Election Analyst, CDD-EAC, said that based on the observation of the CDD-EAC at the pre-election period, some key issues were likely to play major roles in the conduct of the election.
“The CDD-EAC is concerned about the lack of an issue-based campaign by the major candidates.
” The CDD-EAC also expresses worry about recent instances of violence, such as the report that gunmen recently attacked the home of the Labour Party candidate, Mr Yusuf Lasun.
“Also, an inexplicable fire outbreak was reported at the home of the Accord Party candidate, Mr Akin Ogunbiyi.
“The PDP reported that police officers arrested some of their members without cause in Osogbo, as well as in Ijebu-ljesha and Eti-oni in Ori-Ade and Atakumosa Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, ” he said.
Isumonah said that although 13 of the 16 political parties participating in the governorship election had signed a Peace Accord, there was need for proper monitoring to ensure adherence by the candidates, parties and their supporters.
He said that the rising cases of cultism and street gangs in the state could be appropriated for electoral violence.
He said that with the current security realities, the Osun governorship election would require an efficient deployment of security personnel.
According to Isumonah, it is hoped that the recent signing of the peace accord by the governorship candidates will ensure that their supporters refrained from violent activities regardless of the result of the poll.
He said that the voter turnout would affect the legitimacy and acceptance of the Osun election.
“As at July 10, INEC reported that only 1,479,595 million of the 1,955,657 registered voters had collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), this represents 76 per cent of registered voters.
” To increase the collection of PVCS, INEC extended the deadline for collection to July 14, INEC will deploy 5,305 BVAS machines to the 3,763 polling units across the 30 Local Governments Areas of the state,” he said.
Isumonah said that the CDD-EAC would observe the performance of the BVAS and if technical hitches were dealt with promptly.
He said that the CDD-EAC noted that because of the state’s size, the election would constitute a sterner test of INEC’s capacity than the June 18, 2022 Ekiti governorship election.
He said that 16 political parties would be participating in the Osun governorship election however, none of the governorship candidates was a female, while only six of the deputy governorship candidates were female.
He said that the age range of the candidates also showed that 25 per cent of the candidates were below 40 years of age.
He said that the CDD-EAC would be closely observing the election in Osun with the objective of collecting data to support evidence-based analysis.
He said that the CDD-EAC was hosting a fake news hub for the purpose of tracking and countering fake news and misinformation about the election.
Isumonah called on critical stakeholders in the election from INEC to traditional leaders and relevant security agencies to work to ensure a credible and peaceful poll.(NAN)