As voters in the Kogi West Senatorial District and Ajaokuta Federal Constituency cast their votes on Saturday, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called for a credible process.
The CDD in a statement signed by its Director, Idayat Hassan, warned that given the violence, voter intimidation and brazen electoral fraud that characterised the November 16 polls in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the onus is now on all electoral stakeholders, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies, to redeem themselves.
The statement reads: “This supplementary election is an opportunity for the electoral stakeholders, especially INEC and the security agencies, to address the many flaws we saw on November 16.
“CDD observation showed that the polls of November 16 were seriously tainted by a myriad of electoral malpractices, which fundamentally undermined the integrity of the process and outcomes in Kogi and Bayelsa states. CDD hopes the security agencies, which failed to protect voters and poll officials the last time out, have taken due note of the local and international condemnation which greeted their abysmal performance on November 16, and are ready to make amends.
“Apart from the task of ensuring that the electoral space is safe, CDD calls on the respective agencies to proactively curb the menace of vote-buying, which would be rife in this supplementary election.”
According to Hassan, the CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC) would be deploying its accredited non-partisan observers across the polling units supplementary election will be held.
She, therefore, called on the electoral umpire to ensure voters who come out to exercise their franchise are not let down by logistic lapses.
“CDD calls on eligible voters to come out to vote for a candidate of their choice. We equally restate our call to political actors to play by the rules, and refrain from sponsoring thugs to disrupt the process and cause harm to voters and poll officials,” she said.
The Kogi West Senatorial District supplementary poll is to hold in 53 polling units across seven local governments with 45,767 registered voters.
INEC will also hold elections in 22 polling units with 15,438 registered voters in the Ajaokuta Federal Constituency.