The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has decried the low number of security personnel deployed to polling units in the governorship and state house of assembly elections in the country.
The CDD Director, Idayat Hassan and the Chairperson of CDD Election Analysis Centre, Adele Jinadu, who addressed journalists at a media briefing on Saturday in Abuja, noted that the low number of security personnel at the polling units was responsible for the violence recorded during the elections.
The CDD added that cases of vote- buying, voter suppression, and violence were reported across the six geopolitical zones.
Several videos of thugs threatening to deal with anyone who voted against the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos surfaced on social media during the elections.
Others showed thugs burning ballot boxes across the state.
The CDD said: “A concern that has cut across multiple zones is the reduced presence of security officials.
“Observers across the states in the South-South, South-West, and North-West reported a much smaller security presence, especially when compared to the presidential election.
“This has led to repeated skirmishes and fights between voters, party agents and officials. For example, observers in Enugu reported clashes between the party representatives, while others in Jigawa highlighted similar issues between self-professed party members.
“There were reports in Ukanafun LGA, Akwa Ibom, where thugs attacked a polling unit and scared away voters. Election materials were also hijacked at gunpoint in Emelia LGA and thugs also disrupted the process in Obio Akpor LGA, both in Rivers state.
“In the North-Central, multiple irregularities in Benue State have been flagged by observers, while the contentious elections in Adamawa, Bauchi, and Gombe — coupled with reported security challenges — have led to increased attention on the remainder of the conduct of the elections in these states.
“In the South-East, Enugu and Ebonyi are states we are continuing to closely monitor.
“In the North-West, observers in all seven states reported increased reports of vote trading, primarily by political party agents. Money was used alongside other materials such as food items, wrappers, and ‘credit vouchers’ were used to buy votes and those items were to be redeemed after the results.
“Similarly, in the North-East, political party agents in Taraba infiltrated the queue, pretended to be voters, and used the chance to offer cash for votes.
“In the South-East, there were reports of APGA and LP party agents using materials, phones, and other souvenirs to entice voters in Anambra State. In the South-South, multiple states reported a desire for voters to show proof of their vote before being paid, with party agents reportedly compiling a list of their voters in Esan central LGA, Edo State.
“This might be a reflection of the heightened political environment around governorship polls, the importance of local personalities in state-level politics, and the shortages of fuel and naira.
“Across the South-West zone, INEC officials arrived on time and promptly commenced the process in over 80 percent of the observed polling units.
“This trend is broadly consistent across the six geo-political zones. In Anambra State, 75 percent of polling units had INEC officials who arrived on time with voting commencing on average at 8:41 a.m. There was even a report of INEC officials in Benue State having slept over at the polling unit to avoid late coming.
“In the South-West, the BVAS was correctly programmed for accreditation in over 95 percent of cases, although there were occasional issues of non-functionality of BVAS.”