Posted by Abbas Jimoh | 24 July 2018 | 1,374 times
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed worries over the rising cases of vote buying during elections by politicians and political parties.
The National Commissioner and Head of Legal Services of INEC, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, who said this, accused politicians who could not subvert the commission’s administrative processes of being responsible for vote buying and selling.
She spoke at the public presentation of the Election Monitor’s (EM) observation report on Ekiti governorship election today in Abuja.
She pledged that INEC will work with relevant stakeholders to curb the practice especially ahead of the 2019 General Elections.
“The commission is deeply concerned about the rising phenomenon of vote buying during elections and is determined to continue to work with all stakeholders, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary among others to find solutions to this menace. Our own administrative processes can no longer be subverted. Vote buying, therefore, is the only way to subvert the integrity of an election.
“Indeed as part of this process and in conjunction with the European Union Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), INEC legal officers across the country, together with selected police officers will be trained over the next three months on the prosecution of electoral offences. We will also intensify voter education as this damaging trend has got to be stopped in its tracks,” she said.
According to her, it was the responsibility of INEC to prosecute electoral offenders, including those involved in buying and selling votes as well as announcement of false results as stipulated in its Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
She, however, laments that the commission lacked the powers to investigate and arrest offenders.
She said, “There are several provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, criminalizing bribery and corruption relating to voting during elections, including Sections 124, 126, 129 and 130. INEC has continued to perfect its processes and has closed all loopholes. Results cannot now be written and neither can ballot boxes be gainfully snatched as the results will automatically be cancelled,” she added.
The National Coordinator, EM, Mr Abiodun Ajijola, urged INEC to find lasting solution to vote to buy before the conduct of the Osun State governorship elections in September.
“Vote buying needs to be stopped. It will be very sad if what happened in Ekiti is repeated in Osun governorship elections in September,” he said.
•Culled from Daily Trust
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