The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has call for immediate actions against the rising wave of vote buying and other perennial irregularities witnessed in the just concluded Anambra State governorship election.
The Chairperson of the TMG Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said Wednesday in Abuja that this is to ensure the success of some states governorship elections in 2018 and the 2019 General Elections.
The TMG boss flanked organisation’s Vice Chairman Mr Okeke Anya and North-Central Zonal Coordinator Mr Salifu Haruna made the call at a briefing of TMG on the Anambra State Gubernatorial Election.
“Our preliminary opinion is that the election was generally peaceful. However, several of the old challenges and malpractices that have featured in elections since 1999 were again present in this election. These include late arrival of election officials and materials at some polling units, resulting in the late commencement of the various phases of the election process.
“Observer reports show that some INEC personnel were stranded waiting to be conveyed to their various polling units. Late arrival of INEC personnel and materials were reported in PU 008, 007, 010, Abete Secondary School in Dunukofia LGA among others,” Akiyode-Afolabi said.
She said the security situation in the state ahead of the election was a major concern, saying that people were apprehensive of the likely break out of violence to a large extent, low voter turnout and perhaps voter apathy during the election.
“The substantial security presence seemed overall to have provided the confidence that voters needed in most areas to exercise their franchise without fear of intimidation or violence as against the wide spread fears of over policing the process. However, we observed reoccurrence of persistent problems of inadequate welfare of police and non-payment of their allowances ahead of time.
“There were also reports that over 40 police personnel from Benue State were stranded at Nzam, the headquarters of Anambra West LGA. Despite the little hitches, the policemen and women deployed for the election were very civil and professional in executing their election duties,” she said.
According to her observers reported deliberate incident of vote buying across the state perpetrated the major political parties, with party agents positioned themselves at various polling units to perpetrate this act.
She said the agents were seen paying voters between N500, food and clothing materials among others soliciting for votes in favour of their candidates and that this emerging impunity happening in the presence of the security officials is disturbing and needs to be urgently addressed.
The duo of Anya and Haruna who lament the high rate of invalid votes of over 26,000, said that vote buying which started with the ‘stomach infrastructure’ in Ekiti became worse in Edo and Ondo elections hence the urgent is need to punish offenders to prevent recur in future elections.
Source : Daily Trust