A civil society organisation, Connected Development, says it recorded 30 incidents of ballot box hijacking and 50 cases of vote-buying during the just concluded governorship polls across the country.
According to him, data from the 20,000 election observers deployed by the organisation through its ‘Uzabe' platform to monitor the polls, showed a 27 percent voter turnout on election day, due to issues of intimidation, violence and voter suppression.
Lawal explained that the figures represented a disturbing trend for democratic governance in the country, and called on stakeholders to ensure the prosecution of those responsible for the electoral malpractices and other infractions.
It said,: “Our statistics show that there were 30 cases of ballot box hijacking across the country in the gubernatorial election, an increase from the previous election. Specific results show Ahoada west LGA in Rivers state, and Oshodi/Isolo LGA in Lagos state just to mention a few. Also, cases were recorded in Bayelsa, Delta, etc.
Vote buying, which our statistics also recorded 50 cases in this present election, also shows an increase across different polling units in the country, for example in polling unit 003 Gidan Bunu ward of Zuru LGA in Kebbi state, in polling unit under tree 021 Gidan Alhazi ward, Wudil LGA in Kano.
“The 2023 general elections had 27 percent which is 24.9 million out of 90 million registered voters deciding the fate of a country of over 200 million people.
It is unfortunate as well that despite the mass cry of the public for security agencies to respond to issues of intimidation, violence and voter suppression, the security agencies kept mute.
“There were massive cases of the aforementioned issues in states like Kano, Kebbi, Zamfara, kaduna and sokoto in the North West, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta in the South South, Lagos, Ogun in the South West, Imo, Enugu, Abia in the South East, Kogi, Benue in both elections”.
In his address the CODE boss also condemned all forms of thuggery and violence reported across the country, while stating that the actors must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“We frown against all forms of electoral fraud, violence and thuggery perpetuated by any political party throughout the course of this election cycle.
“We are appalled by it and we must make sure that these actors of these heinous crimes face the full wrath of the law. We cannot sit back and watch our democracy overridden by these acts. We must do well to do better.”
Lawal also condemned the ethnic profiling that took place in most parts of the country before and during the elections and cautioned Nigerians against such ugly development.