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CSO condemns vote buying, selling

The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room has condemned the menace of vote buying and selling, witnessed during the Anambra State governorship election.

The Situation Room wondered why the party agents captured in a viral video offering N5,000 to some voters were not arrested.

It however feared that vote trading would continue if perpetrators go unpunished.

Briefing newsmen on its final assessment of the election in Abuja, the convener Ms Ene Obi said, though the group described the election as violence-free, it however, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to improve on future elections, starting with the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

“The menace of vote-trading was once again observed in this election. In some polling units observed, there was an organised procedure for identifying voters who cast their votes for a particular political party in order to reward them afterwards, in other instances, party agents were soliciting for votes, and it became a matter of becoming the highest bidder to gain the votes of the electorate”.

 The group noted that the unfortunate, recurring trend appears to be deepening in Nigeria’s elections and needs to be urgently addressed with the cooperation of all stakeholders involved, including political parties, citizens and security agents.

However, “Situation Room received the report of voters in Anambra State, who bluntly refused to sell their votes, chasing away the vote buyers. Situation Room is disappointed that the perpetrators of this electoral offences were not arrested by security operatives, this brings to light the urgent need to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission to prosecute electoral offenders”.

Situation Room commends the commitment of individuals and groups who made efforts to mediate peace and reduce political tension in the state.

“INEC‘s administration of the election fell short of the expected standard, especially the BVAS Functionality needs to be improved on”.

Reporting by Julian Osamoto, editing by Daniel Adejo