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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has said vote buying and low turnout of voters were the the marks of governorship election in Anambra State that was held on Saturday.

CDD is observing the conduct of the Anambra election and reported its findings in a statement on Saturday.

The media had been awash with reports of vote buying and other forms of inducements of voters during the election.

The CDD noted that the widespread incidents of vote-buying could affect the credibility of the election.

“Observers reported numerous not-so-discreet cases of ‘see-and-buy’ in polling units across the 21 LGAs of the state,” the statement said.

” In many reported cases, police officers have been alleged to have looked the other way, likely as a result of having themselves been compromised.

“This practice, which appears to cut across party lines, has been an increasing feature of Nigerian elections and requires more concerted remedial efforts by INEC and other critical stakeholders.”

The group also indicated that the low turnout of voters reflected the climate of uncertainty leading up to the election, as well as the historically high levels of voter apathy that have been recorded in the state.

CDD also lamented the persistent failure of the Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) across polling units, which it said impaired the smooth conduct of the elections, and will likely disenfranchise some intended voter.

It said lateness of officials in commencing accreditation and polling left many voters frustrated, necessitating INEC’s extension of the voting period till 4 p.m.

On security situation across the state, the group noted that despite concerns over the heavy deployment of security agents, very few incidents of intimidation and violence have been reported – defying the context of fear and uncertainty that preceded election day.

It also said security agents were absent at the commencement of accreditation in several pollings units, which likely heightened uncertainty among voters and officials.

Where security agents have been present, reports indicate that they have largely respected rules of engagement and acted with professionalism.

“This is highly commendable and we hope that this mode of engagement with voters is sustained till the end of the electoral process.

“Likewise, the withdrawal of the sit at home order pronounced by IPOB has contributed to the opening of the polls and the relatively peaceful atmosphere we have witnessed. We noted that as the hours progressed, more voters began to show up at the polls, as information spread that accreditation and voting were proceeding largely peacefully.”

Recommendations

CDD therefore urged security agencies to continue to respect human rights and standard rules of engagement and to secure voters as well as INEC staff and infrastructure.


While the group called on civic and pro-democracy groups to remain vigilant, especially during the collation and announcement of voting results, it urged INEC and its officials to ensure the diligent accounting of votes, especially since voting collation will likely stretch into the night.

“We urge INEC to properly train its officials in the use of its BVAS devices. We implore voters to remain calm and, where possible, to monitor the outcome of the polls up to the announcement of the results.

“We call on political parties to remain calm and to do nothing to compromise the integrity of the election,” it added.

Voting has since ended in polling units across the state and collation of results is underway. The exercise is expected to run into the early hours of Sunday.

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