*deploys 300 observers
A coalition of civil rights organisations under the aegis of Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has said that it had uncovered ongoing plans by politicians to disrupt electoral process of the Osun State governorship election which is coming less than 72 hours.
Besides plans to unleash violence, the TMG said its investigations have revealed that politicians have embarked on the distribution of money, food items and gifts in 12 Local Government Areas of the state, with the aim of inducing the indigenes to vote in their favour.
The organisation also said it would be deploying over 300 observers in the 30 LGAs of Osun State in collaboration with its members.
The Chairperson TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, revealed this in a statement emailed to journalists and entitled: “The ugly trend of voters’ inducement/vote buying in Osun is inimical to the credibility of the electoral process.”
“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”, she stated.
While calling on security agencies and election monitoring groups to work towards stopping the processes of vote inducement in the state, she advised that there should be adequate deployment of security personnel to maintain law and order at the polling units, while at the same time ensuring the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators of electoral offenses.
According to Akiyode-Afolabi, citizens’ votes were valuable assets that must be guarded jealously, adding that vote buying was an electoral offense which undermines the legitimacy of elections and weakens representative democracy.
She said, “In the build-up to the September 22, 2018 governorship election in Osun, TMG has 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 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-accusation of vandalization 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 come 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 Nigerian 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.”