Vote Buying: Stay Away From Politicians, INEC Warns Staff

INEC Chairman


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has warned its
staff not to collude with politicians to promote ‎vote buying syndrome in the coming general elections.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC) in Ekiti State, Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, said though INEC staff should not be blamed for the menace but politicians,said that many of the commission’s staff do compromise  to perpetrate the offence through polling booths
arrangement  that could aid the  unwholesome practice.

On the inability of Nigerians in diaspora to vote in the 2019
elections,Raji said there was no legal framework backing such policy
for now,saying that this could only happen if the existing ‎constitution and the Electoral Acts are amended to accommodate electronic voting.

The REC stated these  in Ado-Ekiti,the State capital on Thursday while delivering a lecture entitled: ‘Women Participation in Electronic  Process in Ekiti State: What exists, Challenges and Benefits’,at a workshop organized by New initiative for Social Development (NISD)with support from Nigeria Civil Society situation Room.

Speaking at the forum,Raji said apart from the impediment associated with vote buying,that part of what could serve as clogs to the success of the next polls is the confusion caused  by litigation on
the guidelines to use for the polls.

He stated that many of the new innovations injected into the electoral process by INEC were being challenged by some parties in courts,saying these  may create confusion for the commission.

“The commission can’t deny the fact that there was vote buying  in the
system, but this was being done by politicians by way of manipulating
the  placement of the polling booths so that those voting can be
monitored for financial inducement.

“In most cases, some party leaders do coerce or manipulate our staff
so that they can be favoured in such arrangement which INEC did not
support. INEC is not in support of any action that can affect the
actual outcome of elections and that we had told our staff, who are
foreigners in most cases”.

Raji warned that parties  may end up having  high void votes in the coming elections,if INEC staff are stampeded  to  circumvent the use
of smart card readers .

“INEC is no longer using Incident Forms. Whatever votes that will be
counted as being valid must be verified and authenticated by Smart
card readers, so resorting to other means  will not be tolerated by
our commission.

“If the smart card readers are not working as expected, call for
another one because any votes not authenticated by the machine will be r‎egarded as invalid”, he said.

He urged political parties against erecting pillars that could
manipulate the internal democracy against women emergence for
political positions, saying doing so would infringe on their rights
and affects the society negatively.

“For  our electoral system to get it right regarding women’s rights,
the constitution must take cognizance of our culture. Women and aged ‎people must be given the rights to vote first, but the present
Electoral Acts did not take cognizance of such”,he said.


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