Election observation group, Yiaga Africa, has warned the three prominent parties contesting the June 18 governorship poll in Ekiti State to shun vote-buying and allow the will of the electorate to prevail.
Yiaga also appealed to Ekiti State’s electorate to troop out en masse to perform their civic responsibilities and vote for candidates of their choice in the June 18 governorship poll.
The body tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to correct the perceived lopsidedness in the spread of votes across units, fearing that this could trigger apathy in the impending electoral battle when voters are finding it difficult to vote or queue for long.
Yiaga said this in Ado Ekiti, on Thursday, at a press conference organised by the body to sensitise Ekiti residents on the need to resist apathy and vote-buying in the election, among other issues.
The Director of Programme, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, who addressed the pressmen, said the All Progressives Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party, are the three suspected political parties with tendencies to allegedly induce the voters out of the 16 parties in the race.
Mbamalu said: “These are the three parties that can induce the voters going by our research. We warn them to desist and allow the will of the electorate to prevail. The voters must resist them because if there are no sellers of votes, there won’t be buyers.
“Vote buying is a bad value we must eliminate. The consequence is an absence of good governance. The N1,000 you collected during election or primary may not guarantee you access to good healthcare delivery, security, so it is a crime”.
Mbamalu urged INEC to further split some of the heavily crowded polling units across the state for the convenience of voting by the electorate and to stamp out the drudgery of waiting for too long before having the window to vote.
“Some polling units have as many as 3,000 voters, while some have less than even 300. We have to correct the spread so that the electorate could have confidence in the credibility of the process”.
On how the election should be conducted, Mbamalu urged that INEC must ensure that only trained polling staff are deployed to conduct the election, while technical officials should also be on ground to maintain the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System(BVAS), so that no one will be disenfranchised.
“We appreciate the INEC for creating additional 250 polling units but we have about nine locations with between 2,000 and 3,000 voters within Ado Ekiti and this could be problematic, so we have to break them for the purpose of convenience for voters.
“How could people come to vote on election day and INEC would not be able to manage the situation? The commission must look into how to correct this lopsidedness before the 2023 election”.
Yiaga appealed to INEC to ensure that all new registrants, who got registered during the Continuous Voter Registration exercise collect their Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs), saying many are still being prevented from taking possession of their cards.
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