Some local observers in the Osun State governorship election revealed on Saturday how they saw three of the participating political parties buy votes in some communities.
The observers disclosed this during their visit to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Gboyega Oyetola in Iragbiji.
While commending the APC for not participating in vote buying in the election, the leader of the team, Comrade Richards Adebayo, said his team members saw members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) offering N1,500 to induce voters, African Democratic Party (ADP) offering N2,000 and Social Democratic Party (SDP) offering N3,000.
He however, commended the electoral exercise, describing it as smooth and peaceful.
Adebayo said his team members observed massive turnout by voters in virtually all the communities where they monitored the election. They include Osogbo, Iwo, Iragbiji, Ede and Ejigbo.
He described the enthusiasm of voters as ‘unbelievable,’ adding that people voted without any fear or intimidation. He also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the smooth conduct of the election, saying the entire exercise recorded a marked improvement over the last one held in 2014.
He said they saw voters who were already at polling units as early as 6:00 am, and with smiles on their faces.
His words: “In this election, we observed that people were happy to come out and vote for the candidate of their choice. The card readers worked generally well except in few polling units. We have to commend INEC for that. In the last election (2014), many people were not happy because of the situation at the time. But today, people moved and cast their votes freely. As observers, we are encouraged that the electoral process is improving.”
The observers urged Oyetola to support a strong electoral process if he wins in the race, stressing that it is one of the pillars of democracy.
Responding, Oyetola commended the observers for taking time out to see things for themselves instead of relying on what he called ‘jaundiced reports.’ He also hailed the peaceful environment in which the election held and the enthusiasm of the people of the state as they chose their next governor.
He pointed out that the improvement in the electoral system confirmed that democracy was growing in Nigeria.
According to him, the situation would have been otherwise if the PDP was in charge of the Federal Government. “But we are peaceful people who allow everyone to follow their conscience in an election. I will continue with that culture if I win this race. You cut corners when you are not sure of yourself. Vote buying is a sign of weakness; it shows you are not sure of winning. We don’t have anything to fear because the APC government has done well. That is why our people want us to continue. We have done massive infrastructural renewal, offered good education, security, social protection for the vulnerable and less privileged. Another novel project of our administration is our support for people with mental ill-health. We take care of them and re-integrate them into their families. If we win, we will continue with the free meal for school pupils.”
Oyetola also commended security agencies for their effectiveness which added to the success of the election.