Ondo Election: Pro-Democracy Group Slams Frontline Parties Over Vote Buying
A pro-democracy group, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has taken a swipe at some political parties that engaged in vote-buying in the Ondo State governorship election.
CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, made the criticism while presenting the group’s report on the poll to reporters on Saturday in Akure, the state capital.
She, however, noted that the CDD, in its preliminary findings, observed that a majority of the electorate resisted the attempts by political actors to induce them to sell their votes.
“CDD observers documented instances in which voters revolted against political actors trying to induce them to sell their vote. This was documented in Idanre (Ward 3, PU 6; Ward 8, PU 1,2 and 3; and Ward 5 PU 1).
“In all those cases, voters insisted they wished to vote for a person of their choice; there was a debate, and some were of the opinion that the money should be collected while the voters should vote their conscience,” Hassan told reporters.
She added, “In the end, the majority of voters rejected the money and chased the ‘voter buyers’ away from the polling unit. All these, CDD observers reported, happened in the presence of security personnel.”
The group’s director was worried that despite the resistance from the electorate, some political actors still devised structured ways to engage in vote-buying.
According to her, a consistent pattern of vote-buying was observed, wherein those engaged in such an electoral offence adopt tactics to induce voters while evading the watch of security officials and election observers.
Hassan decried that the situation was worrisome such that political actors attempted to outspend one another by making available large sums disbursed to community leaders for onward distribution to voters.
Away from the challenges faced in the election, she highlighted a number of laudable developments that characterised the electoral process.
The CDD chief commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the timely arrival of its personnel and electoral materials at the respective polling units in the state.
“Our observation of the effectiveness of logistics deployment for the election indicated a general trend of timeliness in the arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“CDD commends INEC for going the whole hog to ensure materials arrived early at most of the polling units. In general INEC officials and security agents arrived most of the polling unit across between the hour of 7am and 8am,” she said.