Yiaga Africa alleged that some politicians were involved in vote buying while party agents distributed food, cash and alcoholic beverages to some voters in exchange for votes.
Ezenwa Nwagwu, a member of Yiaga Africa’s board of directors, said this during the organization’s press conference on its midday status report on Saturday’s governor and state assembly elections in Abuja.
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) implemented the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to observe the gubernatorial elections in Benue, Delta and Kano.
He said this involved the deployment of 900 stationary observers to represent a randomly selected sample of 300 voting units for each of the states and 97 roving observers across the three states.
It added that Yiaga Africa deployed 517 stationary observers and 33 roving observers in the other 25 states to observe the gubernatorial elections with roving observers in 609 local government areas to capture critical incidents.
“Yiaga Africa received 15 confirmed reports of vote buying in eight states and one at the Sarkin Mudu Voting Unit (016) at Giade LGA in Bauchi. PPD officers were seen bribing accredited voters with N1,000, a wrapper and a packet of spaghetti.
“Voters hand over their ballots to party agents in exchange for the bribe.
“A similar report was received of the distribution of wrappers, N2,000 and a pack of spaghetti to the voters of PU 006 Rangan Ward, Warji LGA from Bauchi,” he said.
Mr Nwagu said that APC and PDP party agents reportedly distributed food, cash and alcoholic beverages to some voters in exchange for votes at 1 Apir Market Square, Makurdi in Benue.
“A bribery case was reported at PU O6, District 05, Isoko North, Delta State, where INEC officials received a cash gift from APC party agent at the polling unit,” it said.
Mr. Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa saw a marked improvement in the management of electoral logistics in the states, as many voting units opened early, resulting in an early start to accreditation and voting.
He said there were also reports of logistical setbacks received by Yiaga Africa in some voting units and compromise of the secrecy of ballots.
“This resulted in a protest at the INEC office at the LGA. Voter intimidation and harassment incidents were also reported at some polling stations in Kano and Lagos states.
“This act of voter suppression is an attack on the constitutional right to vote; Yiaga Africa hopes that INEC and security agencies will take immediate action to address these issues and inspire public confidence in the credibility of the elections,” he said.
Mr. Nwagwu said the Yiaga Africa WTV data center received 54 verified critical incident reports, mainly related to voter intimidation and harassment, voting disruption and destruction of election materials.
He urged the INEC to take urgent corrective actions at the polling stations where violations and breaches of the Electoral Law 2022 and INEC guidelines occurred.
He called on security agencies to respond promptly to reports of voter intimidation and attacks at the polling station to allow citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
Mr. Nwagwu urged INEC to ensure strict adherence to the guidelines for the collection of results; specifically, party representatives and accredited media and election observers must have access to the collation centers.
He added that the match officials must verify the results on the printed result sheets and the transmitted results with the BVAS during the match of results.