The Nigeria Police Force said it has arrested three suspects for vote buying during the Osun governorship election.
The suspects are : Muriat Olalekan, 61,Hamzat Muniru,65 and Adeagbo Wasiu.
A statement by the force spokesman, acting DCP Jimoh Moshood on Saturday in Abuja, said that the suspects were allegedly arrested in the act of vote buying. Moshood said the arrest followed the deployment of operatives of IGP Monitoring Unit and the Intelligence Response Team of the Force.
The spokesman said that the sum of N720, 000 was recovered from the suspects. He said investigation into the cases was ongoing and the suspects would be arraigned on completion of investigation. Alhaji Fatai Akinbade, the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the Osun State election, says voting-buying has negatively affected the exercise.
Akinbade spoke to newsmen in Ogbagba after the accreditation and voting exercise. “ Vote-buying has cast shadows on the governorship election. Vote-buying had taken the shine off the election,’’he said/ However, he commended voters for ensuring a peaceful electoral process. The former Secretary to the State Government, who voted at his Oba’s Compound, Ward 3, Polling Unit 1 at 10.35am, also said that the nation’s democracy was improving on all fronts.
“By and large, we are inching gradually to a convenient point in our polity. “ Everybody involved in this election should be commended; the INEC officials, security agents, electorate, politicians and others. “At least, reported cases of electoral violence are limited, apart from the incidence of vote buying that dotted everywhere while the exercise lasted. “ We just hope something will be done to it in organised electoral engagements in the future, ” Akinbade said.
The ADC standard bearer appealed to the people of the state to remain peaceful and not promote violence after the release of the result. However two Civil Society Organisations monitoring the Osun governorship election on Saturday said the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC’s) secret balloting had so far made it impossible for people to openly buy and sell votes.
The Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, said that the group was monitoring the election in 250 polling units. Itodo said that so far,it was obvious that INEC took deliberate steps to ensure that the secrecy of balloting was not compromised .
“There were two things INEC assured the stakeholders of, first was the reconsideration of the polling units, the ballot box and the cubicle would be placed closer to each other. .“The polling officials were carrying out voter education in the morning, especially on how to roll their ballot papers according to the election guidelines provided by INEC guidelines. “So, INEC kept to its promise of secret balloting,however ,there were still some instances where voters intentionally exposed their ballot, in fact one actually happened before me.’’ Itodo encouraged voters to stop doing that, because it would undermine the integrity of the entire electoral process .
He said that at the moment ,the group had not observed any vote buying or selling activity though it was still very premature to state anything . The National Coordinator, Election Monitor, Mr Abiodun Ajijola, said that he had so far not witnessed nor heard of vote buying during the election . Ajijola said that things were moving as planned except for one or two issues on card readers where it was not authenticating properly.
He said that a request was made and something was being done about it. The groups, therefore, commended INEC for the conduct of the exercise, so far. 3,010 Polling Units and 755 Polling Points spread across the three senatorial districts and 30 local governments areas of the state.
NAN also reports that although 48 parties are participating in the election, the frontline candidates are Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic (SDP). (NAN)