Gubernatorial elections held in Imo State , Bayelsa and Kogi states were reportedly marred by violence, aparty and vote- buying.
Some eligible voters reportedly sold their votes as low as N2,000.
Governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Imo State, Athan Achonu, asked the INEC to cancel the votes in polling units marred by violence.
Achonu made the call after casting his vote in Umunumo hamlet in the Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.
He alleged that some thugs beat up some agents of his party.
Describing the situation as crazy, he said the violence was contrary to democratic norms.
“They beat up so many of our agents. We are sad, we are going to upload some of their pictures. This is crazy, this is what our democracy has come to.”
Election observers also reported that INEC officials arrived late at many polling units in the state.
In his reaction, the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, raised the alarm over electoral malpractices witnessed in the state.
He alleged incidents of vote-buying, ballot box snatching, and other irregularities in some polling units.
Anyawu, who spoke in an interview with journalists in his Amaimo residence in Ikeduru LGA, accused party agents of the ruling APC of “coercing voters to vote for the party”.
He further alleged that some PDP agents were shot by political thugs.
He said one of the PDP vehicles was burnt at Inyishi Community in the LGA, while the agents were trying to resist the thugs.
Anyanwu called for the cancellation of the results of the poll in the areas where thuggery and violence were witnessed.
He also urged INEC “to beam its searchlight on Ikeduru LGA”.
He said: “I have evidence that one of the thugs is a member of the House of Assembly.
“In the process of snatching the ballot boxes, the lawmaker’s Identity Card fell off and I have it here with me.
There were cases of vote buying and coercion of voters in Owerri North LGA.
It was also learnt that some thugs invaded the Umuokoro Village Hall, Iho, also in the LGA, where they allegedly snatched and destroyed ballot boxes and ballot papers.
In Kogi State, PDP governorship candidate, Senator Dino Melaye, Saturday, hcalled for the cancellation of the election in five LGAs of the state.
The LGAs, according to Melaye, are Okene, Okehi, Ajaokuta, Adavi, and Ogori/Mangogo.
He alleged that the election in the five LGAs “is a scam coordinated from the highest level of INEC.”
Melaye did not show up at his polling unit situated at Iluafon quarters, Aiyetoro 1, Ijumu LGA of the state.
INEC has, however, suspended elections in nine wards of Ogori/Magongo LGA of Kogi State.
The Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Kogi, Muhammad Kudu Haruna, made this known in a statement.
The statement said the commission had received reports on incidences of electoral malpractices, particularly the incident of result sheets completed before voting.
“Reports indicate that the incidents occurred in Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi, and Okene Local Government Areas. The most serious incidents occurred in Ogori/Magongo, affecting nine of 10 Registration Areas. This is entirely unacceptable. Any result not emanating from the Commission’s process in the Polling Units will not be accepted.
“The commission is determined not to reward bad behaviour. Consequently, the election in the nine Wards in Ogori/Magongo LGA (Eni, Okibo, Okesi, Ileteju, Aiyeromi, Ugugu, Obinoyin, Obatgben and Oturu) is at this moment suspended. The incidences in the other local government areas are being thoroughly investigated, and the outcome, including the way forward, will be announced in the next 24 hours,” the statement added.
There were reports of vote-buying in the state.
There were the reports of irregularities in Ogori/Magongo LGA where there were pre-filled election result sheets in areas where voting had not even commenced.
There were also reports of the Igalamela LGA chairman being caught by security personnel with bullets and wads of naira notes.
Electoral violence was reported in Dekini LGA, specifically in Anyigba town, where a thug was reportedly shot and killed by soldiers while fleeing in an attempt to snatch a ballot box. There was a similar attempt in Ajaokuta LGA where an LGA chairman was apprehended by voters.
Following the violence that marred the polls, elder statesman, Chief Clark, has urged INEC to investigate reported cases of irregularities in the Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi governorship elections.
He made the call when a group, South-south Diamond Ladies paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
He said the discovery of completed result sheets with names of voters even before the first vote was cast was very unfortunate.
Clark, who is also the Leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) said for INEC to redeem its image from the fallout of the 2023 general election, the commission must investigate alleged irregularities reported in the three states.
He said: “This is an election to allow the INEC to redeem itself. Discovering completed result sheets with names of voters and so on is very unfortunate.
“INEC should investigate and make a public statement on this issue otherwise, they will be condemned as we did in the last general election. I still believe the election will be free and fair to a greater extent.
“The elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi. I think INEC should redeem its image.
“What happened in the last election was very disappointing because if you say that you are going to use technology, you must use it because you provide it in your guidelines and the electoral law.
“INEC should redeem its image because, without an effective, honest INEC, we are in trouble because democracy will not work in this country.”, Clark said.