Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have expressed concern over the security situation and vote buying ahead of the July 16 governorship election in Osun State.
YIAGA Africa said it has received a report that cult groups were assembling small arms and light weapons ahead of Saturday’s poll.
Speaking during a press conference on Friday in Osogbo, YIAGA Board member, Ezenwa Nwagwu, asked the authorities to tackle voter inducement.
He said that based on their report, voter inducements were recorded in Egbedore, Iwo, Orolu, Ifedayo, Irepodun and Ede North Local Government Areas of the state.
Nwagwu also accused political parties of wooing Osun voters with the distribution of food items across the state.
“Voter inducement remains a recurring feature throughout YIAGA Africa’s pre-election reporting from April to this July 2022,” he said.
“In our fifth pre-election reporting period, voter inducement was reported by long-term observers in Egbedore, Iwo, Orolu, Ifedayo, Irepodun and Ede North Local Government Areas.
“Specifically, food items and livestock were distributed to people as campaign strategy employed by political parties.”
Also reacting, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) lamented the rising cases of cultism and street gang in the state capital.
CDD Political Analyst, Professor Adeyemi Isumonah, who spoke during a press conference are concerned that the election may be marred by massive vote buying and therefore asked Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to collaborate with security agencies to arrest offenders.
“The CDD is worried about the lack of an issue-based campaign by the major candidates. The CDD also expresses worry about the recent instances of violence such as the report that gunmen attacked the home of the Labour Party’s candidate, Yusuff Lasun,” he said.
“Fire outbreak was recorded at the home of the Accord Party candidate, Akin Ogunbiyi and the PDP reported that police officers arrested some of their members. The rising cases of cultism and street gangs in the state could be appropriated to electoral violence.
“With the current security reality, the Osun State governorship election will require an efficient deployment of security personnel. It is hoped that the recent signing of the Peace Accord by the governorship candidates will ensure that their supporters refrain from violent activities regardless of the result of the polls.”
The police authorities also reacted to vote-buying, saying efforts by relevant security agencies are in place to tackle the issue during the election.
Johnson Kokumo, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, said the Force is aware of the proliferation of light weapons in the state.
According to him, security agencies will arrest the vote buyer and vote seller in its efforts to complement the efforts of INEC in guaranteeing a free and fair election.
“All services are adequately represented here. Specific duties have been reeled out to agencies and the very important thing is for us to achieve success in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections,” he said.