The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Committee for Planning, Monitoring and strategy, Dr. Muhammed Mustafa Lecky stressed the dangerous effect of vote buying and selling on the electoral process, hence, INEC’s unremitting effort to reduce its spread across the country, during DoroCorruption radio program organized by Say No Campaign in Wazobia FM, Abuja,
The market of vote buying and selling continues to exist due of citizens’ willingness to sell their votes to politicians who want to buy, he said for this reason, INEC carried out voter education in form of posters, media adverts, meeting with social groups, university campuses, religious groups and anticorruption groups, to discourage citizens involvement in electoral fraud, as its consequence will be dire.
Asides the prohibition of phones in the voting cubicle, Dr. Lecky said INEC has arranged the polling units in a way that make voters’ exposure of the ballot paper very difficult because it must be folded inside the voting cubicle. He added that a mobile App named ‘’INEC eReporter” has been developed and made available for download in Google play store, to encourage citizens observation of the 2019 general election activities and report election incidences. According to him, all these and more has been put in place to reduce the rate of electoral corruption.
Reacting to the penalty of vote buying and selling, Former Nigerian Bar Association President and Chairman of Lawyers Network Against Corruption, Barr. Ezenwa Anumnu stated that according to the section 23 of the 2010 electoral act, anyone who is in unlawful possession of any voter’s card, sells or attempts to sell, buys or attempts to buy voter’s card, will be made to pay a fine of five hundred thousand (500,000) naira or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.
While he appealed to the Nigerian police force and other security agencies to help investigate cases of vote buying and selling, as INEC is totally reliant on them to do so, he called for the collective effort of citizens and anticorruption groups to help reduce the menace of vote buying in the forthcoming elections.
Dr. Mustafa admonished the citizens to make themselves unavailable to be used by the bigwigs to perpetrate corruption during the elections, as any offender will be adequately punished by the law.
The Convener of Say No Campaign, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu strongly advised citizens to be careful of fake news and focus on the activities within their polling unit. He also said that citizens should consider their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) as their right to determine their future and not a mere identity card, because electorates’ vote will count.