Vote buying continues in Katsina, Bauchi, Kwara bye-elections, says YIAGA - 9IJA TALKS

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Vote buying continues in Katsina, Bauchi, Kwara bye-elections, says YIAGA

Despite the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to curb the trend, there were records of vote buying in last Saturday’s bye-elections in Katsina, Bauchi and Kwara states, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa has said.
This is contained in the observers’ report of the YIAGA-Africa’s Watching The Vote (WTV) of the bye-elections in three federal constituencies of Toro Federal Constituency in Bauchi state, Irepodun/Isin/Ekiti and Oke-Ero Federal Constituency in Kwara state, Kankia/Kusada/Ingawa Federal constituency in Katsina state and one state constituency in Cross River State, Ikom State constituency.
The report also raised alarm on the seeming non-cooperative posture of the deployed security operatives with INEC.
This was disclosed on Monday in Abuja by the Executive Director YIAGA AFRICA, Samson Itodo; member, WTV Working Group, Ezenwa Nwagwu and Project Director, Ms. Cynthia Mbamalu when the report was jointly presented to the public.
According to the report, apart from worrisome low voters’ turnout, the management of the election logistics was so poor adding that INEC should investigate possible internal sabotage especially in Bauchi State election.
“The bye-election recorded an abysmally low turnout of voters. Official data indicates the turnout rate for Bauchi 21.6 percent, Katsina 38 percent and Kwara 24.4 percent. The trend of a minority determining electoral outcomes and political leadership needs to be reversed.
“WTV observers noted that the secrecy of the ballot was compromised in some polling stations visited. Despite the reconfiguration of the polling units, people could see how voters marked their ballot papers. WTV observers reported incidence of vote buying in polling stations across the three federal constituencies observed.
“Critical incidents observed include, incidents of vote buying or bribery in Bauchi state, Toro LGA in Tilden Fulani Ward 2, PU Name -Kofar Mai-Unguwa, PU code 009; Katsina, Ingawa LGA, Yandoma Ward 2, Wangari PU, PU cood002.
“In Katsina state, Ingawa LGA in: Dugul Ward, PU – Dukuma TV Viewing Center, PU Code 005.
“In Kwara state, Ekiti LGA in: Osi Ward 01, PU Name -Post Office, PU Code 006; Kwara, Irepodun LGA, Oum-Aran Ward 06, PU Name – St. Paul Omu-Aran, PU Code 010; Oke-Ero LGA in: Ekan-Nla Ward 02, PU Name -Oke Ilegun, PU Code 004,” the report stated.
It also reported that there was violence in 019, Magama Gani Primary school, Toro LGA, where a party agent held polling official’s hostage and destroyed ballot papers during counting, leading to the cancellation of the election there.
It therefore among others urged INEC to ensure deployment of logistics and elections materials for the 2019 elections, ensure security agencies work with INEC and not at cross road and also ensure the welfare of election officers especially Corps members to avoid compromise.

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