The Collation officer of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Igalamela-Odolu Local Government Area of Kogi State, on Sunday, presented a fifty thousand naira bribe allegedly given to a presiding officer during Saturday’s election.
The collation officer made this presentation after reeling out figures of the poll conducted within the district.
Former chairman of the Young Democratic Party (YDP), Nya-Etok Ezekiel, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to urgently address the issue of vote-buying ahead of the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria.
Mr Ezekiel, a former governorship candidate of the party in Akwa Ibom state, described vote-buying as the evil that if not addressed, would be worse than corruption.
At a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, Mr Ezekiel insisted that the architect of bad governance is due to an unchecked vote buying which has become cancer attacking Nigeria’s institutional framework.
“I have come here to put it on record that vote-buying is going to do this country more harm than good. Vote buying is that evil that if we do not address today, is going to be worse than what we call corruption.
“Whether militancy or killer herdsmen, Boko Haram or any form of insurgencies; all these can be addressed by a good set-up institutional framework. But Vote Buying is like cancer that attacks directly our institutional framework on account of which all these other insurgencies and evils can never be addressed when the system is compromised.”
Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of the Kwara State High Court in Ilorin has ordered that one Abdulsalam Abdulkadri be remanded in Mandala Prison.
The judge gave the order on Thursday during the arraignment of the suspect by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Abdulkadri is standing trial for alleged vote-buying during the March 9 governorship election in the state.
The EFCC charged the defendant with two counts of conspiracy to use a sum #120,000 to influence voters and provision of #120,000 to influence voters during poll at unit 007, College of Education, Ilorin, the state capital.
The operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Saturday monitored the general elections in several parts of the country.
The anti-corruption agency stated on its Twitter handle that the move was to curtail the incidents of vote-buying, a practice that has characterised some previous elections, especially during the Osun State governorship polls which held last year.
The commission had earlier asked citizens with authentic information that could lead to the arrest of culprits of vote-buying to reach it for the prompt response.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, says vote buying needs to be eradicated first during primaries before it can be eradicated during main elections.
Mahmood said this on Monday during a public hearing organized by the National Assembly on improving electoral processes in Nigeria.
He explained that there were instances where candidates induced voters by stylishly giving them money.
According to him, in order to bring an end vote buying, first, the menace of voter inducement has to be tackled.
Mahmood said, “There is a way voters are induced using two slices of bread. Sandwiched in between the two slices is a currency note.
“The sandwich here is not as food, its sandwich for voter inducement… candidates induce the electorate in a general election.
“In order to end the menace of vote buying, we need to break the chain of voter inducement, otherwise, we cannot expect to eradicate the problem in the secondary election, where many of the players are perpetrators of voter inducement at primary elections.
“We have had so many instances in this country where aspirants include delegates within their party to emerge as elected members of party executives, at state, local government and ward levels.
“At the same time candidates induce voters in an election so it’s a chain that we need to break”.
The Convener of the Civil Societies Elections Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, says there were reports of vote buying in the Osun State governorship election.
Speaking to Channels Television on Saturday, Nwankwo regretted that despite efforts by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to curb the vote buying, the menace still persisted.
“There are still report of votes buying this time, maybe more discreetly,” he said in Osogbo, the state capital.
Nwankwo also spoke about the restriction of movement in the state, suggesting that some observers had challenges moving around.
“We have few reports of disruptions in movement. It looks like the soldiers, not the policemen who are manning the different checking points are not able to allow people to move as freely as they should and, certainly, observers have presented reports of being disrupted by the soldiers,” he said.
Nwankwo, however, commended INEC for the peaceful conduct of the exercise.
He hopes that the electoral body would consolidate on the positive start to the polls by ensuring that the collation of votes remains free and fair.
The election is seen by many, including election observers as a litmus test for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
And Nwankwo wants INEC to make improvements in terms of logistics and security for the general elections.
“This is one state election. In the general elections, you will not be able to mobilise 30,000 to 40,000 policemen to a particular state. It will be restricted as the number of policemen in this country, which is still about three hundred and something thousand.
“That is not going to be able to provide this kind of coverage for the general elections. So I think that while this may be a test case in terms of INEC’s logistics and ability to conduct a state election, it doesn’t necessarily reflect in the general elections.
“INEC needs to know what lessons to take from this and how to interpret that into the larger context of the Nigerian general election.”
Residents of Osun went to the polls to elect a successor for Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday said it is determined to stamp out corruption in Nigeria’s electoral process.
The anti-graft agency in a statement signed by its Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said this is aimed at ensuring that the will of the people is not subverted through financial inducement – vote buying and electoral fraud by political parties during campaigns.
“To this end, and starting from the governorship election in Osun State this weekend, the Commission has fully mobilised its investigative resources in a proactive move to stem the incidence of vote buying and other financial inducements that had bedeviled the nation’s electoral process.
“Specifically, the Commission expresses its resolve to monitor campaign financing by political parties. Anything done outside the law would be considered as corrupt practices and dealt with accordingly.”
According to the acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, stamping out corruption will be achieved through collaborations with security agencies.
Magu said the EFCC will collaborate with other law enforcement organisations in the country to enforce the provisions of the Electoral Act which criminalises financial inducement by political parties and their candidates during electoral campaigns and at polling centers on Election Day.
“We will be working with all stakeholders especially from the security and intelligence community to stop the practice of vote buying and other financial malpractices that undermine the integrity of our elections.
“It is important to state here that those who offer bribes for votes are as guilty as those who receive such gratifications. My candid advice to the electorates is to be vigilant and resist the temptation to sell their votes,” Magu said.
The EFCC advised voters to be vigilant in the exercise of their franchise, by resisting monetary inducement for votes as “those who dangle such carrots cannot be trusted to protect their interest once in power.”
He added that the EFCC has already launched surveillance of the financial flows of all the actors in the various political parties.
“The tracking process which is ongoing, will continue till all the scheduled elections are concluded,” he said.
Magu however assured that the Commission’s intervention will be moderated by national interest and the rule of law. He said, “We will not take any step that is not sanctioned by law.”
INEC on Monday banned the use of mobile phones, cameras or any recording devices by voters in polling booths during the Osun State governorship election.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, said the ban will help reduce the risk of vote buying and selling which he described as a norm amongst politicians.
He further explained that voters will not be prevented from using their devices at the polling booths but would be banned from holding their cameras and telephones, once the ballot papers are issued and until they cast their votes in the ballot boxes.
The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Adams Oshiomhole, believes the Governor-Elect of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, does not have the financial capability for vote-buying.
Mr Oshiomhole made this known during an interview on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019, almost two months after the former minister won the July 14 governorship election in the state.
“No one can claim that Fayemi is a rich man, I know he was struggling to find money to mobilise and to sustain his campaign,” he told Ladi Akeredolu-Ale on the special political programme which aired on Monday.
The APC chairman said he was well aware of the financial position of the governor-elect in the run-up to the election.
He explained that he was not in Ekiti and cannot claim to be a witness to vote-buying and did not participate in any decision to vote money to buy votes in the state.
Instead, Oshiomhole claimed it was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the incumbent governor that had access to such resources.
“I do not think that APC had the kind of resources under Fayemi to resort to vote-buying,” he insisted. “I guess it is the guy who had access to Ekiti treasury, which in this case was the PDP and then the sitting governor, who was so confident that he has all the resources.”
“He even described himself as a rock – you fall on him you will break, if he falls on you he will crush you. Now, the definition and the particulars of this rock may be in terms of the amount of naira that he thought was available,” the APC chairman alleged.
Mr Oshiomhole stressed that although he would not dismiss the allegation, he was never a party to vote-buying and could not have possibly supported it.
Watch Roadmap 2019 on Monday at 9:00 pm for the full interview with the APC chairman.