A coalition of civil rights organisations under the aegis of Transition Monitoring Group has disclosed that it had uncovered ongoing plans by politicians to disrupt the electoral process during the September 22 Osun gubernatorial election.
The development was made public by the group’s chairperson, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, in a statement entitled: ‘The ugly trend of voters inducement/vote-buying in Osun is inimical to the credibility of the electoral process,’ Punch reports.
We gathers that the TMG further disclosed that its independent investigations had revealed that politicians had embarked on the distribution of money, food items and gifts in 12 local government areas of the state.
According to the group, the aim of this was to induce the indigenes to vote in their favour. It further said it would be deploying 300 citizen observers in the state’s 30 local government areas.
The statement read: “As part of its commitment to promoting free, fair as well as effective and accountable management of the election, TMG will observe the 2018 Osun state governorship election.
“TMG in collaboration with its members will deploy 300 citizen observers across the 30 LGAs in the state to observe the election day processes and conduct of the security and other stakeholders during the election.”
It said it received reports of distribution of money, food items and gifts by politicians at Boripe, Atakumosa East, Atakumosa West, Ife North, Ife South, Obokun, Ede North, Egbedore, Boluwaduro, Ila, Irepodun, Iwo local government areas of the state.
“These ugly trends are a dangerous recipe against the credibility of the electoral process. The rampant case of voter inducements does not portray the electoral process in good light as it creates serious questions on the integrity of the process and legitimacy of its outcome.
“TMG has also received reports of violence or threats of violence as political parties go out for campaigns. We, therefore, call on candidates and their supporters to remain civil in their campaigns.
“The indigenes of Osun state should refuse to be used as instruments for violence even as we urge citizens to get involved in the electoral process peacefully.
“Accusation and counter-accusations of vandalisation of billboards by political parties are so unfortunate and should be discouraged. This is indeed an early warning signal that security agencies should investigate to ensure a peaceful election on September 22.
“As the election approaches, there is the need to improve on this especially to ensure citizens collect their PVCs and come out to vote on election day.
“TMG enjoins the police, Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and other major election monitors to subdue the issue of voter inducement across the state ahead of the elections.
“We also urge citizens to say no to vote-buying as any politician that gives citizens money for their votes does not have good plans for them. We, therefore, urge the citizens of Osun to come out on election day and vote for the right candidate that will move the state forward,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, we previously reported that the candidate of the PDP, Ademola Adeleke, explained why he was absent at the 2018 Osun state governorship debate which held in Osogbo, the state capital on Sunday, September 16.
The senator said he did not refuse to show up as widely believed but was “held up by the electorate in the places where he had gone to campaign on Sunday.”