Ondo polls: CTA decries vote-buying

**Urges FG to demilitarise election

By Ameh Ejekwonyilo

The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), has expressed concerns over widespread cases of vote-buying during the Ondo State governorship election which held over the weekend.

The centre regretted the brazen manner in which votes were being bought by political parties during the polls.

In a preliminary statement on the observation of the polls, which was signed by Faith Nwadishi, Executive Director, CTA, the centre

It condemned cases of overzealousness by security operatives who intimidated and harassed election observers and the electorate during the election.

The Centre expressed concerns over the deployment of armed forces during elections in Nigeria.

“Security agents were generally civil in the their conducts except in few cases as was witnessed at the Edo Lodge (Ward 4 Unit 11, Akure South LG) where DSS officials harassed, seized and deleted pictures and videos from the phones of Election Observers.

“Regrettably, our observers reported that vote buying is becoming more brazen and was a major feature of this election. INEC, the Security Agencies and other stakeholders need to work out measures to effectively address this ugly phenomenon,” the statement read.

CTA further revealed that as part of its mandate and contribution to strengthen the democratic process the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) trained and deployed 40 roving and 180 citizens observers to the field covering the entire state.

While commending the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for their timely distribution of electoral materials and voting, it cautioned that election is not war, urging the Federal Government “To start the immediate process of demilitarization of our elections.”

On the issue of voter turnout, the centre noted that despite the fear of violence occasioned by altercations among the major players before the election as well as the morning rain, “voter turnout was largely impressive.”

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