By: Joy Odor/Abuja
The Director for Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) Ms ldayat Hassan has reported that there is an alleged arrest of PDP Party Agent by the operatives of Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) who stormed the location of the polling unit of Ankpa 1 Polling Unit (PU) with number 2203-04-0 of Kogi State Governorship Elections.
She stated this in her Preliminary Statement on the conduct of the election across 21 Local Government Areas at the CDD Election Analysis Center, Kogi State Saturday, 16th November, 2019.
According to her, the move has disrupted voting, as thugs responded by throwing stones in a bid to release the PDP party agent, including several reports of ballot box snatching.
“An example is PU 004 Ayingba (PMML Primary School, GRA) where the polling unit was attacked by thugs alleged to be ruling party supporters” she said.
She maintained that heavy presence of security was not enoug for a countermeasure to deter trouble makers bent on using violence to subvert the process.
Ms ldayat Hassan opined that her observers and Journalists were all harassed, attacked in several instances while voters were also intimidated, followed into the voting cubicles and forcefully coerced, to vote for candidates against their wishes.
“A CDD observer was injured in Ayingba Ward 004 while our partner the Cable journalist was harassed and his phone seized for trying to take a picture off the APC senatorial candidate giving money to two older women who stood by his convoy.
“The coordinated disruption of the electoral process by hoodlums mobilised by the political parties undermines the integrity of the electoral process” Idayat said.
The CDD Director pointed out that notwithstanding that INEC enlisted the EFCC and the ICPC to assist in curtailing vote-buying, vote-buying was very rampant across the state.
“CDD observers reported that party agents in several polling units engaged in the financial inducement of voters to influence them to vote for the parties.The cost of a vote ranges between N500 and N3,000” she stressed.
Speaking on fake news and fisinformation, Ms Idayat said “CDD preliminary observation indicates, as previously predicted that the political parties would use fake news to maximum effect as the election commenced. Some of the fake news circulated today includes the disqualification of the PDP candidates, false results, fake images of thugs arrested and snatching of ballot papers.
“CDD fact-checkers were able to debunk most of these fake news items. The hoaxes are mainly intended at delegitimising the INEC and the process. Again, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are the leading platforms used to spread disinformation”she added.