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Violence, Vote-buying Mar Ondo Election, Observers Say

Reports from election observers in Nigeria who are monitoring the Ondo State Governorship election have shown that the election has been marred by violence, massive vote-buying, malfunctioning of card readers

Reports from election observers in Nigeria who are monitoring the Ondo State Governorship election have shown that the election has been marred by violence, massive vote-buying, malfunctioning of card readers and voters non-compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.

One of Africa’s leading think tanks, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) said: “our observers documented an upsurge of political tensions in at least 11 of the 18 local government areas of the State with several reported cases of election-related violence.

“Violence was observed at the Ijomu polling unit 7 where a voter was attacked with a machete before security agents arrived at the scene and started shooting sporadically in the air.  Also, in Oke-Ijebu Ward 4, Ojumi, someone was shot in the leg by some hoodlums who invaded the area,” CDD said on its official twitter handle.

A correspondent with THISDAY also noted that commotion ensued in Akure, the Ondo State capital when gun-wielding men invaded polling Unit 4, Ward 4 in Ijomu/Obanla, shooting sporadically to disperse the voting process. During the incident, a young man, who was identified simply as Gboyega, was shot and was rushed to the hospital on a motorcycle.

Prospective voters, media men, election observers, and INEC officials scampered for safety, as the hoodlums continued shooting for several minutes. Operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), who were nearby Ijomu Junction also ran for cover. The situation was later brought under control by men of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

An eyewitness, who gave his name as Tope, claimed that the thugs are members of one of the two main political parties.

“They came here in their vehicle with guns and started shooting as soon as they came out. One of them went straight to the boy [Gboyega] and shot him at close range. The hoodlums are here with us, we know them and the people who sent them. One of them was among those who shot people down the street last week,” Tope said.

The CDD also reported cases of massive vote-buying by agents of the major parties.

There were also reports of non-compliance with COVID-19 guidelines as social distancing, use of face mask were disregarded. In some polling units, voters without masks were sent back. Electoral officials stopped the use of Infrared Thermometers as according to them it slowed down the process.

By Abel Ejikeme

ON NOW