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Group raises concerns over alleged vote buying In Kogi  


Policemen keeping watch as INEC distributed sensitive electoral materials for Kogi State governorship election in Lokoja…yesterday PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA <br />

As the people of Kogi State go to the poll today to elect a new governor that will pilot their affairs for the next four years, observers monitoring the election have raised concerns over vote-buying, intimidation, and violence.

Raising alarm, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), said it has been keeping a close watch on the electoral process.     

Director, CDD, Idayat Hassan said, “there are indications that a lot of money has been set aside for vote-buying on Saturday.”

“Already, our observers have noted the distribution of gift items such as Ankara textile materials and rice in Lokoja and Koton Karfe local councils of the state. In addition, the latest reports we are receiving from our observers indicate massive inducement of INEC Supervising Presiding Officers (SPO) across the 21 local councils of the state.

“The reports indicate that one of the parties has made overtures, and has been inducing the SPOs with bribes to buy them over, and get them to do their bidding on Election Day. These reports were further confirmed from Bureau de Change (BDC) Operators within the state who were interviewed. The BDC operators report that there are has been an upsurge in the number of customers calling to change USD1000 to naira,” she said.

Hassan added: “The use of financial inducement to subvert the credibility of the electoral process is antithetical to the democratic ethos.

“The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) expressly frowns at bribery and all forms of inducement of poll officials. Specifically, section 124(4) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended states: ‘Any person who commits the offence of bribery is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both’.
“CDD is calling on the anti-corruption agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to thoroughly investigate these reports in order to hold to account the perpetrators of these electoral crimes.”



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