Group Seeks Legislation To Stop Vote Buying, INEC To Conduct Four Bye-Elections


A Non-Governmental Organisation, United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP), has implored the National Assembly to make laws to stop vote buying during election.Executive Director, Olaseni Shalom made the call in a statement yesterday in Abuja. He blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies for failing to curb inducement during the Ekiti governorship election.

Election observers had yesterday also confirmed that the major political parties were involved in vote buying during the poll.The group expressed concern that the country had been a victim of series of anti-democratic activities and power hungry politicians.

It lamented that there had never been a greater threat to the country’s democracy than the dangerous trend of vote buying.Shalom said: “Vote buying has held our democracy hostage for too long, and it’s a high time that we get rid of the corruption, where billions and trillions of naira are spent to induce voters in states and federal elections.

“INEC and the law enforcement agencies have shown that there is nothing that they can do to root out this menace, as evident in recent elections in the country.” UGRFP urged the National Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, address the national embarrassment of voters’ inducement to protect the sanctity of the people’s constitutional rights.

Meanwhile, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu yesterday met with state Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.He said the meeting was to fine-tune ways of conducting the off-season elections in the country, especially the September 22 governorship poll in Osun State.He announced that the commission would conduct four bye-elections, following the declaration of vacancies it had received.

The chairman said the National Assembly had informed it of vacancies in respect of Bauchi South and Katsina North senatorial districts.Others are Lokoja/Koton Karfe Federal Constituency in Kogi State, Cross River State House of Assembly, in respect of Obudu 1 state constituency.

Yakubu disclosed that voters in the four bye-elections have over two million registered voters, spread across 3,355 polling units in 234 wards and 22 local council areas.He stressed that all the elections would be conducted in one day, and expressed the hope that they would offer the commission another fine-tuning opportunity.He said the processes and procedures were necessary in preparation for the Osun State poll and the 2019 general election.

The chairman pledged INEC’s unwavering commitment to continuous improvement.He said it would improve on the quality of elections, drawing from the lessons it had learnt since 2015, from the collective experience of elections into 181 constituencies, which included six governorship elections.