A joint report released by Women Aids Collective (WACOL) and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) indicated that violence, intimidation by thugs and vote buying marred the just concluded general elections in the South East.
The project was envisioned to develop the capacity of civil society to monitor, analyze and respond to incidents of election-related conflict/violence before, during and after the elections in Nigeria; as well as to promote collaboration and dialogue between election stakeholders in order to mitigate and/or prevent election violence.
To accomplish the mandate of the project, WACOL engaged and trained monitors throughout hotspot states in the region during the pre-election, election day and post-election periods.
According to the report presented to journalists in Enugu, apart from reported incidence of violence in places like Ebonyi, Abia and Imo, our monitors equally reported large scale vote buying and voter-intimidation by political thugs.
In Ebonyi State, one death was recorded in Ugwulangwu while in Okposi and Uburu communities there was fracas by opposing party supporters, which led to grievous injuries.
At Poling Units 027 and 028 of Umunnowu village in Anaocha LG of Anambra State, violence erupted in I & II when four men with pistols stormed the poling units and began shooting into the air.
During the governorship and state House Assembly elections in Imo State, the monitors reported of palpable tension on the day of the election after political thugs murdered a party agent in Nkwerre Local Government Area of the state.
In Ohuhu area of Umuahia North LGA, Abia State, the monitors reported cases of crisis/violence both in the national and state level elections on account of malfunctioning card readers and the insistence by some politicians and their agents to resort to manual accreditation.
“Secondly, INEC ad-hoc staff arrived late to the polling centres in Ohuhu; even when the voters had trooped out early for the election. The anger by voters of coming out early coupled with the late arrival of INEC as well as the dysfunctionality of the card readers combined to create enormous tension that generated heated argument among the agents of various political parties, which led to pushing and shoving. All these led to disruption of the voting process,” the report stated.