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Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) concerned about the pattern of vote buying ahead of the Edo State Governorship Election.
The observer group that doubles as one of the prominent Think Tank in Africa in a statement issued Thursday and made available to NewsWireNGR, noted that “it is the voters who are now searching for the highest bidder among the political camps to sell their vote to”.
“A number of voters interviewed insisted that the only thing, which would make them to vote, is if a contestant agrees to pay an amount for the vote,” the statement reads in parts.
It said, “Beyond individual voters searching for willing buyers to sell their votes to, it is similarly disturbing, as confirmed by our observers that barely three days to the Edo State governorship election, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) under the Minister of State for Labour and Employment decided to empower 2,000 women in the State”.
CDD is worried that this puts a partisan coloration to a government run empowerment scheme, just as it would motivate politicians in the opposing camp to engage in similar schemes to woo voters with incentives, which flout the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“Security agencies must remain vigilant in checkmating illegal voter inducement.”
CDD also wants INEC to extend voting hours.
It said, “the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on all aspects of social, economic and political life.
“The prevailing atmosphere created by the on-going pandemic and high risk of electoral violence might lead to the loss of some ad hoc staff on the day of the elections – It is imperative that a backup plan be immediately activated”.
CDD will like to point out that given the extra health precautions and social distancing policy to be adopted during polling, voting may take longer than normal. We hereby call on the Commission to prepare to provide for extended polling hours.
CDD believes the Edo Election presents a real opportunity to prevent some of the unacceptable fallouts from previous elections, wherein there were clear attempts to taint the vote through an inflation of voter turnout.
The organisation added that “In Edo, INEC should be able to anticipate such magnitude of electoral fraud, so it does not become a rubber stamp for a fraudulent process”.
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