Vote Buying Worries INEC As Osun Governorship Election Draw Closer

Moses Ofodeme

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is worried about Vote buying during elections, just as it applauded anti graft agencies for stepping up surveillance.

Mahmood Yakubu, the agency’s during a meeting with Inter agency consultative committee on election security, ICCES, at the weekend noted that the Ekiti election though came with some challenges but was largely successful.

According to him, the synergy between the Commission and the security agencies on the one hand, and among the security agencies on the other, ensured a seamless coordination of efforts resulting in the widely acclaimed success of the Ekiti governorship election.

He said, “Security was well-coordinated. The election was peaceful. Personnel and materials were deployed promptly. Election Day processes commenced as scheduled. Election technology functioned optimally. Results were transmitted from the Polling Units and collated at the various collation centres in record time. I must, on behalf of the Commission, convey our appreciation to all members of ICCES for the success of the election. We must continue to build on the success of the Ekiti experience to ensure improved performance in subsequent elections, including the 2023 General Election.”

Yakubu noted that in the next two weeks, the Osun State Governorship election is holding on Saturday 16th July 2022, and that as is the case on the eve of all major off-cycle Governorship elections, ICCES holds a special meeting to review operational and deployment plans.

On the Commissions part, Yakubu, assured that all the major activities that are supposed to be carried out at this stage have been successfully undertaken.

“The Commission is deploying a readiness assessment team to Osun State next week to assess our preparations for the elections.

“We will visit some of our Local Government offices in the State, hold meetings with our staff, brief the Council of Traditional rulers to solicit the support of their Royal Majesties for peaceful elections and meet with the security agencies and transporters.

“We will also observe the mock accreditation of voters in some Polling Units across the three Senatorial Districts of the State to test the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). A few days to the election, we will return to Osun State to meet with the stakeholders and for the signing of the Peace Accord by political parties and candidates under the auspices of the National Peace Committee.” Yakubu said.

However, he observed that, “Arising from the experience of the recent Ekiti State Governorship election, the Commission is keeping a close watch on the security situation in Osun State.

“Although it is generally calm at the moment, we are nevertheless concerned about reports of clashes in some places. In one recent example, the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) was disrupted in Erin Oke and Erin Ijesha Wards of Oriade Local Government Area resulting in the loss of 46 PVCs. While the matter is being investigated by the police, the collection of PVCs for the affected Wards is now taking place in the INEC office in Ijebu-Jesha.

“Meanwhile, the State office has compiled the Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of the cards and the Commission has already reprinted the PVCs for the affected voters. I would like to assure all valid registrants in Osun State that no one will be disenfranchised on account of such incident. It is futile for anyone to attempt to vote using another person’s PVC. The BVAS biometric accreditation will expose such fraud and persons apprehended will be prosecuted under the law.”

He also observed that arising from the experience in recent elections, vote buying remains a major area of concern, adding, We appreciate the role played by the anti-corruption and security agencies in apprehending some of the perpetrators of this brazen assault on our democracy.

In particular, we are working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure the prosecution of persons arrested in the recent Ekiti Governorship election. Action will commence as soon as the EFCC completes its investigation. I appeal to all security agencies to continue to join hands with the Commission to tackle this menace.”

The Chairman, reassured Nigerians who applied for Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents arising from the recent party congresses, primaries and nomination of candidates that all requests are being attended to expeditiously despite the huge quantities of documents involved.

“Nigerian elections, especially the conduct of primaries for the nomination of candidates by political parties, is one of the most litigated in the world. As at yesterday evening (Friday 1st July 2022), 216 requests have so far been processed involving the certification of over One Million Six Hundred and Fifty Thousand (1,650,000) pages of documents. Indeed, there are now far more cases challenging the breach of internal democracy within political parties than those involving the conduct of the main elections by INEC.

“We will continue to work round the clock, including the weekends, to ensure that we attend to all applications received at the headquarters of the Commission promptly.”

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