Ado-Ekiti — A civil society organisation, YIAGA AFRICA, which monitored the election, alleged massive vote buying, an act it described as a threat to the nation's democracy.At a press briefing in Ado-Ekiti yesterday morning, YIAGA's Executive Director, Samson Itodo, also alleged voter inducement during the election, saying it undermined political legitimacy and made mockery of the country's democracy.
"We need to shut the industry of vote buying. This growing trend needs to be abated ahead of subsequent elections. INEC should take intentional steps to protect the secrecy of the ballot by enforcing her electoral guidelines. The security agencies should devise new strategies for detecting and apprehending individuals or groups involved in vote buying and selling during elections.
"There is need for openness and transparency in the deployment of security personnel for elections. This will boost confidence in electoral stakeholders and citizens. The membership of the inter-agency Committee on Election Security (ICCES) needs to be reviewed to mainstream other stakeholders like civil society groups," he said.
The group, however, confirmed that the official results released by INEC reflected the ballot cast at the polling units.Itodo, who called on the winner, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and supporters of All Progressives Congress (APC) to be magnanimous in victory, urged the losers to accept the results. "YIAGA AFRICA calls upon all candidates, all parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain the peace."
Another group, Women Arise for Change, also alleged massive vote buying which it said exposed the country to ridicule locally and internationally.The Senior Programme Officer, Olufemi Lawson, who spoke with The Guardian in Ado-Ekiti, however, said INEC performed credibly well in the discharge of its mandate.
"As early as 8:00am, materials and personnel were on ground in about 80 per cent if the voting centres. Unlike in previous elections, the card readers were functional. "Unfortunately, for us as a people, while INEC did credibly well to conduct a credible election, security agencies did not help matters, as they were looking at party agents who were sharing money. Buying of votes were being done openly. It is something that gave negative impression about our electoral system."The incident of last Saturday has necessitated the call again for us to restructure this country because if we continue like this, it will be disastrous."