Renowned observer group, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), on Monday released its report on the Ekiti State Governorship Election held on July 14 2018.
The body lamented that agents of the top parties bought votes, warning that the situation much not be allowed to go on.
Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, TMG Chairperson, signed the report made available to DAILY POST.
The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was declared winner.
He defeated his closest rival and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof Kolapo Olusola.
In its report, TMG said observers reported early set up of polling units across the state as well as early turn out of voters who came out in their numbers and conducted themselves in an orderly manner.
It said accreditation and voting started quite early but that there were complaints recorded with the Smart Card Readers as authentication of finger prints which resulted in slow voting.
The TMG observed that the election was largely peaceful except for a few isolated cases of violent conducts or actions that could have undermined the voting process which was effectively dealt with by the Police and other security personnel who also conducted themselves in a civil manner.
The reported added: “The TMG observers reported a systemic case of vote buying and financial inducement of voters with all the parties involved and a sense of communal buy-in in the act.
“While it wasn’t observed that INEC officials were in anyway complicit in the act, the arrangement of polling stations; the voting booth and the ballot box leaves much to be desired towards stemming this ugly practice.
“The practice is taking a consistent approach with impunity on the part of the political actors with far reaching implication for the credibility of elections, mandates and democracy in general.
“As a group that has been involved in the electoral process since the return of democracy in 1999, the TMG commends the Independent National Electoral Commission for its improvement in the management of the elections in the State, the electoral management body had undertaken extensive consultation in the build up to the election, managed logistics in an effective and timely manner as well as improvement in the conduct of its election officials.
“The TMG is concerned with the massive deployment of security agencies and personnel during the elections, the country should be working towards a less policed electoral process.
“The TMG is of the opinion that mobilising the whole gamut of the country’s security infrastructure is not necessary as this could intimidate voters and further drive voter apathy which is a key concern for the electoral process, looking at the discrepancy between the number of registered voters and those who actually vote.
“While the TMG commends the people of Ekiti State for coming out en-mass to vote, it is struggling to come to terms if this large voter mobilisation is not hinged on the incentives of the financial inducement from political parties for their votes.
“This question has become necessary in the face of the massive acceptance of the financial inducement by the voters. The TMG calls on Nigerians to shun partaking in such act as it has far reaching implication for the nature of relationship that evolves between elected leaders and the people in the quest for accountability and transparency in governance.
“The TMG is concerned about the growing trend of vote buying by political parties and contestants in elections. This practice is becoming the norm with political parties trying to outwith each other in the sums paid to voters.
“The practice TMG reiterates is a bad omen for the country’s democracy, it has the potential of undermining all the progress we have made in our electoral politics and further exclude groups such as women, young people and persons with disability who have been largely excluded in politics due to money driven politics.”