The Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) has condemned reported cases of widespread voters inducement and vote buying during Saturday’s Anambra governorship election.
The group which said it deployed 100 election observers during the election, also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the quick deployment of election materials as well as what it said is improvement in the voting process.
Addressing journalists in Awka, the Anambra state capital, ISDMG executive director, Dr Chima Amadi who read out the group’s preliminary report said the ISDMG is “alarmed at the increasing sophistication of political parties and their agents in colluding among themselves to pull resources together to openly bribe security agencies, INEC officials and even observers in order to brazenly and openly buy votes and induce voters.”
Amadi described reports of vote buying and inducement by political parties as “serious”.
While commending voters for their massive turnout despite the pre-election security scare, he said reports from our observers in the field on the wide spread open selling of votes by citizens however; cast a major slur on the integrity of the votes.
He said the trend of vote buying which has become a major feature of recent elections, sadly repeated itself with disturbing brazenness in Anambra state.
Speaking on the conduct by INEC, he said there was good preparations on the part of INEC.
He said, “there were substantial reports of card readers malfunction as a result of technical hitches although in many instances the INEC technical team quickly rectified the faults
“he practice of simultaneous accreditation and voting has contributed immensely to active voter participation and reduction of tension in voting points.
“The improvement in the conduct of personnel made up of INEC personnel and Ad-hoc staff which in our view can be attributed to the quality of training for the Election Day staff.
“We observed that in most places visited by our field observers we noticed that the voting cubicles were placed in the midst of the people thereby compromising the secrecy of the ballot.
“We note the prompt and speedy response to reported incidents by INEC situation room.”
Speaking on the conduct of security operatives, the ISDMG director said reports from their observers on the field indicated that the police and other security agencies conducted themselves in civil and professional manner in their dealings with the electorates.
He said, however, in most cases they turned blind eyes to wide spread vote buying and in certain cases received payment to provide cover to the nefarious activities of political parties and their agents.
He said, “the welfare of the police and other security agencies has remained a recurrent problem in elections; however we note a remarkable improvement in their mode of transportation to the state.
“We note that the police and security agencies were effective in maintaining law and order as exemplified by the arrest of one Professor Nwamkpa who was arrested by the DSS for sharing money at a polling unit and was later released.”