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Political thugs, cult groups, inducement threaten Osun guber election – Report

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Nearly two weeks before the gubernatorial election in Osun State, an alarm has been raised over the possibility of thug violence that would seize the peace electoral activities.

Activities of cultists and hoodlums are gradually becoming a recurrence in the Osun pre-election environment ahead of the election, Yiaga Africa, a civic hub revealed in a report issued on Tuesday.

“This pre-election observation period still reveals activities of hoodlums and cultists in the state with the recent critical incident being the disruption of PVC collection in Ilesa Local Government Area of the state.

“Reports of activities of cultists and hoodlums are gradually becoming a recurrence in the Osun pre-election environment ahead of the election,” the report made available to DAILY POST stated.

The Yiaga Africa’s Pre-Election Observation (PREO) report captures the activities of the key election stakeholders: INEC, Political parties, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and the National Orientation Agency (NOA), as well as indicators of electoral violence from a period of May 26 and June 16.

The organization said it received reports of voter inducement by political parties in four local government areas in Osun.

“In particular, WTV received reports from Iwara ward 1 in Atakumosa East where PDP supporters were seen distributing money to citizens to travel to the INEC office at the local government headquarters to collect their PVCs, this is intended to get the citizens to vote for the PDP on the election day.

“Additionally, WTV LTO reported the distribution of gifts in the form of food items by the APC and PDP supporters
around the Odo-Otin local government. The distribution of bread and garri during the PDP campaign as well as the distribution of beans during an APC campaign rally. Both incidents took place in Ekosin-Inisa in the LGA of Odo-Otin.”

Yiaga Africa said it deployed 31 long-term citizen observers (LTOs) and deployed them across the 30 LGAs of Osun State to systematically observe the pre-election environment in their various local governments.

The report called on political parties and candidates to conduct issue-based campaigns rather than engage in voter inducement, and recruitment of thugs and cultists for violence.

Stating its recommendation in the report, Yiaga Africa said security agencies should ensure the arrest and prosecution of all involved in any form of violence in the days leading to the election.

It also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consistently provide updates on the number of PVCs collected ahead of the state election.