Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State saw politicians attempting to outspend each other by doling out cash to the electorate, while voters in turn responded by voting for the biggest spenders, the Centre for Democracy Development (CDD), a non-governmental Organization (NGO), has said.
While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has yet to announce the winner of the poll as results were still being collated, the CDD said politicians brazenly engaged in electoral fraud during the election.
The CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, during an interactive session with journalists in Akure, said the alleged electoral fraud was committed by different parties that participated in the poll.
According to Hassan, huge sums of money ranging from N150,000 to N600,000, were disbursed at each polling unit by politicians.
She said, “We observed a consistent pattern of vote buying, with those engaged in it adopting tactics to induce voters, while evading security officials and election observers.
“Our observers documented attempts by politicians to outspend each other by disbursing large sums of money to community leaders for onward distribution to voters.
“Deviating from their previous style of distributing cash discreetly at points close to the polling units, the politicians created outposts where voters can go to collect cash after proving that they voted for the vote-buying party.
“Our observers reported that party agents largely stayed away from coordinating vote buying but their parties designated someone who is not a party agent and appears to be neutral to direct voters to their outposts to collect cash,” she said.
The CDD, however, commended INEC and security agencies deployed to the state for arriving early for the election.
Hassan condemned alleged attacks on INEC officials towards the end of voting by suspected political thugs, especially in Akure South Local government.
“The attacks compromised the transparency of the electoral process because the upload of results into the INEC Results Viewing Platform was disrupted.
“These RAC technicians are responsible for maintaining the Smart Card Readers, and preventing them from doing their duty also created problems in the area of maintaining faulty card readers,” she said.
Meanwhile, the incumbent Ondo Governor and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rotimi Akeredolu, was leading in 9 out of 18 local councils results so far announced by the INEC with 178,854 votes.
Eyitayo Jegede, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has won three local councils with 141,083 votes.
The Ondo deputy governor, who is also the candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Agboola Ajayi, got 32,000 in the results announced so far.