Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa through its Watching the Vote (WTV) has raised the alarm over ominous signs that may derail the elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
In its second pre-election observation report, YIAGA Africa stated in its summary findings through its WTV that there have been verbal attacks over issues pertaining to the electoral process and physical confrontation between supporters of political parties in Ankpa and Kabba/ Bunu Local Government Areas in Kogi and Nembe, Southern Ijaw, Yenagoa, Brass and Sagbama Local Government Areas of Bayelsa State.
The summary findings signed by its Executive Director, Samsom Itodo also observed that there are stock-piling of arms and recruitment of political thugs in Ankpa, Okehi, Idah in Kogi State and Yenagoa and Sagbama in Bayelsa State.
On the violations of electoral laws and guidelines, the WTV uncovered compromise of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) by political parties moving from house to house, documenting names and polling units numbers in Kogi and sale of PVCs between N500 and N1000 in Opolo and Gbarain area of Bayelsa.
The report which commended INEC for its “reasonable compliance“ with the election timetable noted that political parties in the two states are yet to hold political rallies in some local governments.
It called on security agencies to probe the stock-piling of arms and recruitment of armed thugs so as to nip in the bud political violence before it mars the election.
“Security agencies and the police should investigate and manage the report of recruitment of thugs and stockpiling of arms, to avoid an outbreak of violence in the coming election. Security agencies should investigate and arrest people engaged in buying and selling of PVCs, and any form of voter inducement, to serve as a deterrent to others. Security agencies should engage in active engagement and communications with citizens on the principles regulating security deployment and its operations ahead of the election.”