Politicians ‘buying voter cards, inducing electorate’ in Ekiti

YIAGA AFRICA, a policy advocacy group, says politicians are currently buying voter cards in Ekiti state where the governorship election is scheduled for July 14.

Under its Watching the Vote (WTV) project, YIAGA deployed 24 long term observers (LTOs) in the 16 local government areas of the state to monitor the “pre-election environment”.

In its first of a four-part report released on Thursday, the group reported voters’ inducement across the state.

“WTV LTOs received secondary reports of buying and selling of voters’ cards and witness/heard of distribution of money or gift items by candidates or their supporters,” the report read.

“Four percent of the deployed LTOs across the state reported that they heard plausible reports of voters’ cards being sold or bought in their LGAs. More than half (54%) of LTOs either observed or witness distribution of money or gift items by politicians and their supporters.”

This, according to the report, was recorded in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti West, Ekiti-South West, Ido / Osi, Ikole, Irepodun Ifelodu, Ise Orun, Moba and Oye local government areas.

“Most notably, only 8% of the LTOs reported that they personally witnessed voters’ inducement through money or gift items.”

In the report, the group also observed that most of the campaign activities reported have been carried out by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Action Democratic Party (ADP).

“Across the state, 42% of the LTOs reported witnessing or hearing of ADP rallies in their LGAs, 59% reported witnessing or hearing of APC rallies, 75% reported witnessing or hearing of rallies for the PDP and only 17% reported hearing but not witnessing of rallies by the Social Democratic Party (SDP).”

As part of its recommendations, YIAGA urged all candidates and parties to adhere to the electoral framework, discourage violence amongst their supporters, and desist from such illegal practices as buying and selling voters’ cards and any form of voter inducement through money or gift items.