The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has said it will work in concert with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in monitoring the 2019 general elections in order to guard against the menace of vote buying and other electoral malpractices.
The acting chairman of the ICPC, Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar, disclosed this at the weekend in Abuja during a national campaign against vote buying and other electoral malpractices orgainsed in collaboration with Youth Alive Foundation (YAF), supported by DFID and facilitated by Ummah Support Initiative (USI).
He said the commission had previously monitored the 2011 general elections and it came up with reports containing useful recommendations for improving future general elections as they were submitted to all stakeholders concerned for implementation.
Abubakar, who was represented by Mrs. Azuka Oguguwa, noted that vote buying and selling is corruption and it can take various forms, such as collecting payment from candidates before or after voting for them, adding that the Section 6 (a) of the ICPC Act 2000 and the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) empower the commission to prosecute electoral offenders.
“Such payments are usually made through agents or either direct or through phone transfer. This is outright bribery and it is punishable under the ICPC Act 2000. Other forms of electoral malpractices punishable under te ICPC law include rigging in whatever form. Rigging could take the form of falsifying election results by changing figures to favour particular candidates.
“In September this year, the ICPC acting chairman, Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar met with the INEC chairman where issues of training and election monitoring were revisited. ICPC picked up the gauntlet and monitored the Ekiti and Osun state gubernatorial elections and the run up which took place on 22 September and 27 October, 2018 respectively.
“Futhermore, the ICPC is more than fully prepared to monitor the 2019 general election,” he said.
For his part, the executive director of the campaign’s facilitator – Ummah Suppirt Initiative (USI) – Malam Danjuma Abdullahi, told journalists that the campaign became necessary in order to sensitise the public on the dangers of vote buying and selling.
Papers were were presented by resource persons from the ICPC, INEC, and the lead director of the Centre for Social Justice, Barr. Eze Onyekpere; Hajia Aisha Yusuf; Dr. Abdullahi Hamisu from the Police Academy in Wudil, Kano state; and Imam Ishaq Abdullahi.