The Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) has released a report on how vote buying and violence marred the the governorship and state house of assembly elections.
The CDD, in a press statement released on Monday, said vote buying was more in the South-East than in any other geopolitical zones, while violence marred polls in North-West region during March 18th elections.
Recall that the governorship and state house of assembly elections were held on March 18 in 28 states across the country.
According to CDD, voters were more focused on what they would get than the ideology of the candidates.
It said the vote-trading was made possible due to the prevailing economic hardship amid the current cash crunch.
“In total, 25.3 percent of observers noted vote buying at their polling units across the country with the highest figures reported in the northwest (35.4 percent) and southeast (41.4 percent),” the statement reads.
“In Anambra state, party agents were observed using materials, phones, and other souvenirs to entice voters. In the south-south, multiple party agents reported a desire for voters to show proof of their vote before being paid, with party agents reportedly compiling a list of their voters in Esan Central LGA, Edo state.
“The prevailing economic hardship in the country – 133 million Nigerians were estimated to be multidimensionally poor in 2022 according to the National Bureau of Statistics – and the continued shortages of fuel and particularly Naira were undoubtedly a factor in this.
“Votes were being traded for between N1,000-2,000 in parts of Edo and Benue states for example, with goods of similar value used in many cases in lieu of cash given the continued currency shortages. Across the region, manifestations of vote buying included the use of fabric, toiletries, ‘I-owe-you-vouchers’ and food items.”
The CDD said electoral violence was more in the northwest with voters being threatened with death in some polling units.
“Voter suppression, voter intimidation, and the destruction or theft of election materials predominantly by political party agents and politically aligned thugs were recorded across all six geopolitical zones,” it said.
“A total of 10.8 percent of observed polling units recorded violence and/or fighting; this was most pronounced in the northwest (19.9 percent) and south-south (11.6 percent) geopolitical zones with Bayelsa and Zamfara, the two states with the most incidents recorded by our observers.
“These violent incidents were often focused in political strongholds of opposition or perceived opponents which suggests that the use of BVAS – which can limit overvoting in principle has resulted in a more concerted effort to stymie votes than to try and stuff ballot boxes in order to rig the outcome of an election.
“Conventional forms of voter suppression were recorded by observers across the northwest zone, and most apparent in Zamfara where the bandits and vigilante groups, particularly Yan Sakai, were reported to have threatened voters with death if they voted for the incumbent.
“Similar incidents of intimidation were reported in all geo-political zones, and were most pronounced in the southeast zone (9.8 percent as compared with a nationwide average of 4.7 percent), with party agents involved. In Lagos, for example, voters were told to vote for the incumbent or they would be flogged in Lagbasa and Ado primary schools in Ajah LGA.”
The CDD said the outcome of the presidential and gubernatorial elections would either worsen or strengthen Nigeria’s democracy.
It added that some of these determining factors include, the pronounced ethnic divisions, the electorate’s increased awareness and involvement in the process, the political influence of alternative parties, and the incorporation of technology amongst others.
Why Uzodimma Was Replaced As Edo Gov Primary Chair — APC
The ruling All Progressives Congress on Thursday clarified the reason Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State was replaced with his Cross River counterpart, Bassey Otu, as Chairman of the Edo governorship primary election.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Felix Morka, said the governor was “unavoidably unavailable” to complete the primary election, hence the need to replace him with his deputy.
The party announced the changes in a statement issued by APC National Organising Secretary, Sulaiman Argungu on Wednesday.
The changes were made a few hours after four leading Edo State governorship aspirants passed a vote of no confidence in the governor.
The governor had announced Dennis Idahosa as the winner while returning officer Stanley Ugboaja declared Monday Okpebholo as the winner.
Elsewhere, Ojo Babatunde, who claimed to be representing the returning officers in all the local governments, declared Anamero Dekeri the winner of the election.
On Tuesday, the national leadership of the APC in Abuja declared Saturday’s primary inconclusive.
The ruling party, however, raised an eyebrow when a section of the media reported that the Imo State governor was sacked.
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC appealed for understanding, saying the party did not sack Uzodimma as reported.
Morka said, “The attention of the All Progressives Congress has been drawn to reports in sections of the media suggesting that the Governor of Imo State, and Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, His Excellency, Hope Uzodinma, was sacked or dropped as the Chairman of the Edo Gubernatorial Primary Election Committee, and replaced with the Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Bassey Otu.
“We wish to clarify that Governor Uzodinma was neither “sacked” nor “dropped”, as has been erroneously reported, but was unavoidably unavailable to lead the completion of the Party’s Edo State Gubernatorial Primary Election Process due to his prior scheduled attendance of, and presentation of a report, to the National Economic Council meeting today February 22, 2024.
“As a result, His Excellency Bassey Otu, Governor of Cross Rivers State, who was the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, graciously accepted to serve as Chairman, and to complete the Edo State Gubernatorial Primary Election Process.”
Edo Guber: Ighodalo Wins Edo PDP Primary
Barrister Asue Ighodalo has been declared winner of the Peoples Democratic Party primary ahead of the Edo State governorship election slated for September 21, 2024.
He was declared winner of the primary conducted today by the National Working Committee of the party and monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium lawn tennis court.
Asue Ighodalo was announced by the Chief Returning Officer, Dauda Lawal, governor of Zamfara state.
He was declared to have polled 577 votes while Edo State deputy governor Philip Shaibu polled 1 vote. Anslem Ojezua, Felix Akhabue, Amb. Martins.
Barr. Esene. Polled zero respectively.
Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama and Omosede Igbinadion announced there Withdrawal from the race before voting started. A total of 6 votes were void.
Meanwhile, the Edo Deputy governor Philip Shaibu had emerged winners earlier today in a separate primary held in his official resident.
More details to come…
UPDATED: Gunshots As Shaibu Emerges As Candidate In PDP Parallel Primary
The Edo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP,) on Thursday held a parallel Congress that produced the deputy governor of the state, Philip Shaibu is the candidate.
While some delegates were being accredited to proceed to the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium venue of the primary election, another set of delegates met in a facility in Commercial Avenue where they announced Shaibu the elected candidate of the PDP.
They claimed that they went to the venue for accreditation but were chased away by security agencies. They also alleged that the list of delegates published by the national leadership of the party was not the authentic one alleging that they saw names of people from Bayelsa state and names of people who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Declaring Shaibu winner of the election, Bartholomew Moses said “During the counting of this primary election, Philip Shaibu has a score of 301 votes and therefore, we hereby declare Philip Shaibu as the authentic elected candidate for this election in the PDP”
The people had barely finished their exercise when gunmen invaded the venue. They were dressed in vigilante outfits and came in several vehicles including two black unmarked Toyota Hiace Truck, an unmarked white sienna, a white Hilux and several other vehicles. They were shooting sporadically into the air and the people scampered in different directions for safety
Before the election, the delegates led by Festus Owu had protested to the deputy governor’s official lodge where they complained to him that they had been disenfranchised.
Speaking to the protesting delegates, Shaibu said “I appeal to all of you to be peaceful I don’t want anybody to be injured, I don’t want anybody molested and I am happy the way you have conducted yourselves peacefully and have come to report to me that you were not allowed to be accredited but I want to tell you that no one man can determine the destiny of a people and by the grace of God they cannot disenfranchise you people.
“The law is clear that you people are the authentic delegates. Now that they have pushed you away, they want to go and replace you but I assure you that your vote must count, they cannot change and replace your names. I assure you that I will take your protest to the committee that is coming but you must remain peaceful in everything you are doing.”
Speaking to journalists later, Shaibu said “I saw the crowd outside and I asked who they are and they said they are delegates, I said they should be directed to the venue of the accreditation but they said they were protesting because they have been sent away from the venue if accreditation and they won their election and they have their results.
“The election will hold and if a winner emerges with fake delegates, the election will not see the light of the day but if a winner emerges with the authentic delegate, there will be no problem, I am sure.”
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