The Centre for Democracy and Development on Saturday condemned the high incidence of vote-trading recorded in the Edo State governorship election.
The organisation said reports from its observers on the field showed that politicians, in an attempt to circumvent the electoral process, used young girls as their contact with the voters for the trading.
It lamented that votes were traded for cash gifts from N1,000 to N15,000.
The Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, who said these during a press briefing on the preliminary report on the election said it was quite worrisome that “young girls were used for indirect vote-buying during the election.”
“We saw largely vote-buying in the Edo election, the most worrisome trend in this election is the level of sophistication at which politicians engaged in the anomaly of vote-buying.
“In some cases, votes were traded for Ankara materials, and cash gifts from N1,000 to N15,000, Spaghetti and other food items.”
She said CDD was concerned that despite expending time and resources to deploy thousands of law enforcement officials for the election, nothing was done in the face of infractions such as vote-buying.
Speaking on adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Hassan said CDD observers reported a general non-compliance to key protocols for preventing further spread of the novel disease.
She said in a number of the exceptional cases where compliance was observed, it was limited mainly to the wearing of face masks and nothing more.
“The flouting of the rule of physical distancing was the order of the day, there was a complete inability of INEC to maintain her 2-meter rules as written in her guidelines.”
The CDD Director also said that it was important to note that the late arrival of the INEC staff also contributed to the non-compliance with the COVID – 19 protocol as they (the officials) in an attempt to rush commencement forgo the processes.
“In the context of the serious risks posed by the COVID-19, CDD calls on INEC to explore further preventive measures by instructing poll officials involved in the conduct of the election to self-isolate, while working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to test poll workers, who conducted this election”, Hassan added.