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CDD announces preliminary report on Governorship/Assembly elections

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A man has his finger marked with indelible ink at a polling station in Kaduna on March 9, 2019, during voting for governorship elections. Nigerians are voting for a second time in a fortnight in governorship and state assembly elections, with heightened concerns from observers of violence and an increased military presence. Elections for governors are being held in 29 of Nigeria’s 36 states, for all state assemblies, plus the administrative councils in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. Kola SULAIMON / AFP

Denounces Cases Of Arson, Disruption Of Voting
The Centre for Democracy and Development’s Election Analysis Centre (EAC) yesterday announced a preliminary report of its observations in yesterday’s governorship and state Assembly elections.

According to the organisation, there were cases of arson and disruptions before the commencement of voting, incidents it were capable of disrupting voting.

In Benue state, CDD said armed hoodlums razed down a Roman Catholic primary school in Aya containing electoral materials meant for Mbalom ward in Gwer East Local Government Area of the state. However, no election personnel were hurt. Also, in Manger II polling unit of Mbanyagber registration area in Tarka local government area, which has 538 registered voters, a youth corper was taken, hostage. In the Registration Area Centre (RAC) at Yandev North in Gboko LGA, election officials were attacked twice. The number of registered voters affected by the disruption is 8,437.

In Ebonyi state, thugs burned down three RACs in Okposi in Ohaa number of local governments, destroying election materials. About 75 polling units and voting points were affected, and some 36,392 registered voters may have been disenfranchised as a result. This, it said, is extremely disturbing, and CDD calls on all the relevant security agencies to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to prevent further incidents of violence likely to disrupt voting and consequently negatively impact the outcome of the elections.
The general impression we gathered from the majority of our observers is that most polling units in their states of deployment opened today as and when due.

On opening of polls, CDD said election materials and personnel arrived on time in most of the states it visited, a sharp contrast with the presidential and National Assembly polls in which late opening of polls was widespread.

On use of smart cards, the report noted it has remained problematic in different parts of the country. Of the three functions of the card readers — authenticating, accrediting, and biometric capture – the report said the challenge was most common with the biometric capture. “In some places where they deliberately refused to use the smart card readers, manual voting was reported by our observers in locations like polling Unit Kazawa Primary school polling unit in Kazawa Ward of Kano Central Senatorial District and Unwanar Ganji Open Space Ward in Rimi Gado of Kano north Senatorial District.”

The report noted that despite INEC’s promise to improve the safety and welfare of corp members in this election, the early hours of the Election Day witnessed protests by ad-hoc staff, who threatened not to carry out their duties until INEC cleared pending allowance. In Ward 03 Ajangbadi/Aganju Aka, Ojo local government area of Lagos State, for instance, observers reported a protest by some aggrieved ad-hoc officials.

There similar complaints in Bolade RAC, Oshodi LGA; and Ijora Oloye Rac Center, Apapa LGA, both in Lagos State; and in Wards 5 and 7 Oyo Central, Oyo state.

CDD observers reported cases in which politicians offered ad-hoc officials’ money at the RACs. For example, in a RAC in Ikosi Senior High School, Ikosi-Ketu, Kosofe-Lagos, a presiding officer alleged that politicians offered them N5, 000 each, which they refused. The ad-hoc staff turned down the offer but instead demanded that they should be paid N40, 000 while some of them requested N20, 000.

There were security breaches, which CDD observers reported on Election Day:
● Cases of killing were reported in Ahoada West Local Government area of Rivers; Ndoni, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, Rivers;
● The abduction of a youth corper in Etinan Ward in Akwa Ibom state;
● A violent clash between party agents and INEC officials in Achida, Wurno ward, Sokoto, polling unit 003;
● In Oyo State, there were reported cases of voter intimidation in Ogbomosho South Local Government Area of the State where armed touts in Ward 4 Polling Units 5, 6, and seven were forcing voters to show their ballot papers after voting – an action that discouraged several voters from voting.
● In Imo State, there was open ballot stuffing at polling units at Mbutu, Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.

Vote buying, the report noted remains a significant concern in yesterday’s elections. “Buying and selling of votes prevailed despite the warning by INEC, security agencies and the anti-corruption agencies. On the ground, our observers reported seeing EFCC arresting people involved in vote buying. For example, the EFCC arrested some prominent party stalwart in Benue and Kwara states.

“However, reports from our observers indicate significant role played by voters and politicians in the vote trading market. The trend, as we observed, is that voters are bargaining for a higher amount and sell their vote to the party with the ability to meet their demand. In PU 011, Madobi Ward, Madobi LGA, Kano State, vote traded for between N3,000 and N4,000.

“In PU 02, ward 4 Oke Balogun Epe local government area, Lagos State, party agents were seen writing down the names of voters who were expected to collect a paltry amount of N1,500 each.”

Cases of inappropriate behaviour displayed at polling units by different political parties and their agents were noticed.

At the Kofar Galadiman Dawa polling unit in Katagum LGA of Bauchi state, for instance, CDD observers described how a top government official, who arrived late, displayed his ballot paper to the public before dropping it into the ballot box.

Similarly, at Shiyar Majema polling unit in Bodinga LGA of Sokoto state, APC and PDP agents clashed over disagreements as to where the voting cubicle should be positioned.

The report said CDD observers in Kano central and Kano south senatorial districts observed cases of underage voting were reported by.

They also observed harassment of INEC ad-hoc staff who protested non-payment of their allowance by over-zealous military officers around Mile Two area of Lagos State.


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