The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will publish names of all the candidates cleared to contest the 2019 general elections in January.
It said the decision of politicians to resort to vote buying during elections, instead of attempting to manipulate the system is an indication that there is improvement in Nigeria’s electoral process.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Rivers State, Mr. Obo Effanga, who spoke to newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, said what the commission has displayed are documents of candidates as filed by their various political parties.
Effanga, stated that a total of 56 political parties filed candidates for the governorship election in the state and have submitted the documents of the candidates.
He said: “In the real sense of it, we don’t have candidates yet, 56 political parties have filed candidates for the governorship election in Rivers State and have submitted the documents.
“So, what we have done was to publish details of each of those potential candidates of the political parties and that is what we have displayed for people to come and see.
“With the information they have supplied, individuals can go to court to challenge the candidature of that person. By the time this process of over, there will be a deadline for political parties to substitute the names of their candidates.
“It is in January 2019 that INEC will publish list of candidates for all elections. Right now, cannot say this is the candidate because it is possible that political parties will candidates and aggrieved persons may also to to court.”
Effanga stated that with the improvement in the nation’s electoral process, votes now counts during elections, forcing politicians to look for way to convince the electorates in order to get majority votes.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner said: “I think before we talk about what we should do or what we intend to do, let’s find out why we have this situation. The truth is that we are having this situation where people go to buy votes from the voters because now more than ever before, every vote counts.
“So, we should first start by acknowledging that there is an improvement in the electoral process, in the elections conducted by INEC so that every vote counts. If you cast your mind back many years ago, politicians didn’t bother about how people were going to vote: whether they will come put or not. They were just interested in manipulating the system.
“But with the improvement in the electoral process, politicians now know that the only way they can win election is to have majority votes and the only way to have majority votes is to convince the electorates to vote for you. But they now found a smart way of convincing the people, which is by buying them off. That is what has happened.”