INEC Vows To Tackle Vote-Buying During Osun Election – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has put strategies in place to tackle vote-buying during the July 16 governorship election in Osun State.

Speaking on the Channels Television Sunrise Daily programme on Monday, INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said all the loopholes identified in the Ekiti State governorship election would be corrected.

One of the notable lapses during the election was the massive vote-buying by some of the political parties involved in the poll.

Many observers accused the INEC of encouraging malpractices through the way its cubicles and ballot boxes were positioned.

But Okoye, who is also a national commissioner of INEC, said, “Currently, the commission is training supervising presiding officers, ppresiding officers and assistant presiding officers and it’s one of the issues that have been keyed into their training – the issue of the positioning of the cubicles – to make sure that we guarantee the secrecy of the vote.

“The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission is in Osogbo and he is going to visit some local governments to assess their state of readiness.

“Not only that, he is also going to visit some polling unit where we are going to do mock accreditations. So, the positioning of some of these cubicles will also be assessed.”

He also disclosed that the commission had held several meetings with the security agencies, adding that the issue of vote-buying was top on the table.

“The security agencies are going to increase their surveillance and also be robust in terms of making sure that people do not go to the various polling units to go and corrupt the electorate,” Okoye said.

PVC hoarding

While saying PVC doesn’t have an expiration date, he charged those who are already registered not to register afresh.

Okoye said, “For those who attempt to hawk our PVCs, the moment the commission is satisfied that a prima-face case has been established against these people, we are definitely going to proceed against them.

“For instance in Osun State, there were some staff of the commission and corps members who were in charge of PVC distribution, who were hoarding those PVCs and were trying to divert those PVCs, we are definitely going to prosecute them the moment the security agencies conclude their investigation.

“I want to assure the Nigerian people that those trying to hawk or hoard the PVCs, that those PVCs will be useless to them because the data of each registered voter is domiciled in the BIVAS for each polling unit.

“So, the moment you get to the polling unit, even if you have the card, the BIVAS must read their fingerprint and must read their facials before you can vote.

“So, if you have 100 PVCs at your disposal, the only thing you can do is that you engage in voter suppression. In other words, those who have those PVCs (the owners) will not vote.”

While emphasising that those warehousing the PVCs were carrying out an exercise in futility, he said a PVC can only be used at the polling unit where the voter is registered.

He said anyone caught trying to use another person’s PVC to vote would be arrested for identity theft.



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