© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Vote buying commences ahead of Kogi/Bayelsa guber polls – Report
As INEC targets people living with disabilities, women on voters education
NEW Report from Watching the Votes (WTV), a project of YIAGA Africa, a civil society organisation revealed that the trend of vote-buying has commenced ahead of the gubernatorial election scheduled to hold on 16th November in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
The report says voters’ inducement was observed in at least one in every three Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Kogi as well as Bayelsa.
The affected local governments include Adavi, Okehi, Ankpa, Idah, Kabba/Bunu and Koton Karfe while and in Bayelsa state – Southern Ijaw, Ogbia and Sagbama.
The coalition had earlier deployed 48 Long Term Observers (LTOs) – in eight LGAs of Bayelsa and 21 LGAs in Kogi, to monitor pre-election activities in the concerned states.
“Buying and selling of PVCs is one of the predominant election malpractices recorded in 2019 general elections. As such, it was pertinent for WTV LTOs to continue to monitor cases of purchase of PVCs in their assigned LGAs,” the report advised.
“Findings from this observation period reveal that buying or selling of PVCs still exists. This was recorded as witnessed or heard by WTV LTO in both Kogi (Adavi, Okehi, Ankpa, Idah, Kabba/Bunu and Kogi K.K) and in Bayelsa state (Southern Ijaw, Ogbia & Sagbama)”.
The report is an outcome of the survey carried out by YIAGA Africa WTV from 19th September to 3rd October in both states.
The ICIR, during the 2019 General Election had reported prevalence of vote-buying and how the anti-graft agency, Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested culprits in selected locations across the country.
The anti-graft body has also embarked on a sensitisation campaign against vote-buying across the geo-political zones.
But, the new report has stressed how vote-buying is prevalent in the two states ahead of the November 16 election.
“Generally, voter inducement was reported in at least 1 in every 3 LGAs of the 21 LGAs in Kogi state, and in all the LGAs in Bayelsa state. Reports on Buying and Selling of PVCs: The attempt to undermine the integrity of the electoral process was observed as reflected in the report indicating a replica of the ugly incidence in 2019 general elections.”
In terms of voters’ education, the LTOs reflected increased participation of the electoral commission, CSOs as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
Specifically, the report identified special attention given to vulnerable members of the States such as women and people living with disabilities.
“The findings from Bayelsa state reveal that voter education activities were conducted by INEC, NOA and CSO in 80 per cent, 50 per cent and 85 per cent LGAs respectively, and in Kogi state, voter education activities were conducted by INEC in 58 per cent of LGAs, by NOA in 19 per cent of LGAs and by CSO in 65 per cent LGAs.
“Most notably, voter education messages are targeted at marginalized groups like women and People Living with Disabilities (PWDs) was poor across the states, however, this was measurable for youth (45 per cent by INEC and 60 per cent by CSOs in Bayelsa state and 12 per cent by INEC and 42 per cent by CSO in Kogi state).”