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Vote buying may determine election outcome, says CDD

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Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has said the outcome of Saturday’s governorship election in Edo state might be decided by vote buying and selling.

Speaking at its pre-election briefing in Abuja, CDD director, Idayat Hassan and Chairman of its Election Analysis Centre, Prof. Adele Jinadu, lamented that, “voters in Edo state are now searching for the highest bidder among the political camps to sell their vote to.”

They noted that following an on-the-spot assessment, a number of voters interviewed insisted that the only thing, which would make them to vote, is if a contestant agrees to pay an amount for the vote.

They added: “Beyond individual voters searching for willing buyers to sell their votes to, it is similarly disturbing, as confirmed by our observers, that barely three days to the Edo State governorship election, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) under the Minister of State for Labour and Employment decided to empower 2,000 women in the State. CDD is worried that this puts a partisan coloration to a government-run empowerment scheme, just as it would motivate politicians in the opposing camp to engage in similar schemes to woo voters with incentives, which flout the provisions of the Electoral Act. Security agencies must remain vigilant in checkmating illegal voter inducement.”

While noting that the Edo election is another litmus test of Nigeria’s commitment to organising credible polls, they observed that the electoral environment in the state had continued to be gripped by needless partisan tension.

According to them, the prevailing atmosphere created by the on-going pandemic and high risk of electoral violence might lead to the loss of some ad hoc staff on the day of the elections, saying it was imperative that a backup plan be immediately activated.

They called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide for extended polling hours due to the extra health precautions and social distancing policy occasioned by COVID-19.”

The group urged security operatives not to engage in any acts, which would intimidate or scare voters from exercising their democratic right to vote.


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