Thursday, September 23

Voters sell votes to highest bidder during polls –Centre

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Saturday in Abuja said voters were scrambling to sell their votes to the highest bidder during Saturday elections.

Prof. Adele Jinadu, Chair, CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC), while briefing newsmen said vote-buying prevailed in spite of the warning by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and the anti-corruption agencies.

Jinadu said that the centre sent out observers to monitor the elections in the states and came out with its findings.

“On the ground, our observers reported seeing EFCC arresting people involved in vote buying, for example, the EFCC arrested some prominent party stalwarts in Benue and Kwara.

“However, reports from our observers indicated significant role played by voters and politicians in the vote trading market.

“The trend as we observed, is that voters are bargaining for a higher amount and sold their votes to the party with the ability to meet their demand.

“In Polling Unit (PU) 011, Madobi Ward, Madobi LGA, Kano State, vote traded for between N3,000 and N4,000.

“In PU 02, ward 4 Oke Balogun Epe local government area, Lagos State, party agents were seen writing down the names of voters who were expected to collect a paltry amount of N1,500 each.’’

Jinadu said that CDD’s observers reported cases in which politicians offered ad-hoc officials’ money at the Registration Area Centres (RACs).

“For example, in a RAC in Ikosi Senior High School, Ikosi-Ketu, Kosofe-Lagos, a presiding officer alleged that politicians offered them N5,000 each which they refused.

“The ad-hoc staff turned down the offer but instead demanded that they should be paid N40,000 while some of them requested N20,000,’’ he said

Jinadu said that another worrying trend observed was that supporters of mainstream party were disguising as members of smaller parties to buy votes for their parties.

He added that CDD gathered that agents of smaller parties were influenced to purchase votes on behalf of the dominant parties.

Jinadu said that before the commencement of voting, a number of incidents that were capable of disrupting the election were reported by the observers.

He said that in Benue, armed hoodlums razed down a school in Aya containing electoral materials meant for Mbalom ward in Gwer East Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

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