The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the conduct of the Osun State governorship election will be a testing ground against vote buying.
INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this yesterday, during a programme, #Watchingthevote, an Election Dialogue Series of YIAGA Africa, headed by Mr Samson Itodo.
The programme had the theme: “Ending The Scourge Of Vote Buying And Selling In Nigerian Elections.”
According to Yakubu, the commission and other relevant stakeholders will stop the scourge of vote buying.
“Just like the way we stopped other vices, INEC will use the Osun election to make a statement on vote buying” Yakubu said, adding that they will make it difficult for voters to expose their votes to agents of buying.
“Voting cubicles will be well manned,” Yakubu disclosed adding that the agents of vote buying are agents of political parties and that the commission will change their seating arrangements.
Yakubu, who said INEC will ban the use of some devices like mobile smart phones at polling units, added that they will increase voters’ education and sensitisation against vote buying.
“Others like the security agencies must enforce the laws,” Yakubu said while lamenting that INEC is required to prosecute, but doesn’t have the power to make arrests and investigate.
He said over 40 electoral offenders have been prosecuted adding that they are pursuing 100 cases in court.
On the Osun State Governorship election, the INEC chairman said 16,000 staff would be deployed for the exercise adding that they will work with the security agencies to ensure that offenders are prosecuted.
Newly elected Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Chairman, Chief Peter Ameh, said politicians resort to vote buying because they now have an intellectually driven INEC.
“The elections are now credible. They resort to vote buying because they know the votes will count,” Ameh said.
The executive director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, said cash for vote, which he described as see and buy, is threatening the credibility of the elections’ conduct.
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