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Ondo election: CDD blames Police for turning blind eye on vote-buying, says poll slightly peaceful

THE Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) on Monday accused the Police of feigning ignorance of several incidents of vote-buying at the just concluded Ondo State governorship election.

The Centre, however, applauded the police for being civil and impartial at the poll, just as it lamented that not much was done to discourage or arrest vote-buyers.

Idayat Hassan, CDD Regional Director, who spoke during a post-election briefing, held in Abuja queried the number of vote-buyers so far prosecuted in the country, noting that there has been the case of just only one man who was reportedly arraigned in Gombe State for the similar offence during the 2019 general election.

“How many vote-buyers has ever been prosecuted…” she queried.

Hassan cited an instance of a voter she witnessed in Ondo election who publicly demanded payment after voting and was willing to be arrested.

“In fact, in his own words, he said I don’t care to be taken to the police headquarters because there is impunity. There were police and other persons there but nothing ever happened.”

She further described the vote-buying as a big issue that should be of concern to relevant authorities and decisively dealt with.

According to her, vote-buying was induced by poverty, loss of trust in government and impunity, adding that top politicians responsible for the menace should also be identified.

“…that is why while commending the non-partisanship and civility of the security officials, we continue to say that their core mandate of law enforcement is actually not being done,” Hassan said.

“If during that election, at least 100 vote buyers were arrested or 50, it will send a strong message and act as a deterrent to the people. So, this electoral impunity is something we have to deal with.”

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On the general conduct of the election, she described the poll as slightly peaceful but noted that some of the electoral issues observed should be addressed in the ongoing constitution amendment.

The CDD boss commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for early deployment of voting materials, the collation of materials and deployment of technologies for the poll.

Prof. Adele Jinadu, Head of CDD Analysis Centre, particularly applauded Ad hoc staff of the INEC for complying with the directive to upload completed EC 8A form on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) platform.

Jinadu commended INEC for the innovative approach on election results collations and announcements.

Rotimi Akeredolu, the incumbent governor won the poll defeating his two major contenders Agboola Ajayi and Eyitayo Jegede from the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) respectively.

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