The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu, seven days to gather information about reports of vote- buying, overdue influence, intimidation, ballot box swiping, and other electoral offences by the three leading political parties in the just concluded Ekiti Saturday Guber poll .
SERAP also prompted INEC to instantly and effectively make those arrested, and bring to justice anyone who patronized, backed and abetted them. In the letter dated 18 June 2022 and inked by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said
Corruption of the ballot box intrudes on the freedom of Nigerian choosers to make up their own minds. Vote buying and other forms of electoral corruption indurate out the lower fat campaigners and parties.
SERAP said, fat campaigners and their guarantors ought not to be allowed to benefit from their crimes. We’re concerned that immunity for vote buying and electoral bribery is extensively current in Nigeria, as perpetrators are infrequently brought to justice.
According to SERAP, If voting is as important as INEC always claims it is, now is the time to end the buying of republic by fat politicians and their guarantors.
The letter, read in part Vote buying encourages poor governance and weakens citizens ’ capacity to hold their ‘ tagged officers ’ responsible for their conduct.
When political campaigners or their guarantors decide to buy the support of the people rather than contest fairly for their votes, there are possibilities that similar campaigners and guarantors will show a casualness for popular rules and a disposition to borrow illegal means becomes ineluctable.
Vote buying is entirely an act of election malpractice connected with vested interest since an election can be said to be free and fair when it’s devoid of vote buying, ballot swiping, and intimidation.
Your commitment to these issues will demonstrate to the choosers that INEC is ready, willing and suitable to combat vote buying and electoral bribery and assure Nigerians that INEC will do everything within its authorizations to insure that the 2023 general choices aren’t tainted by corruption.
Ending immunity for vote- buying, overdue influence, ballot swiping, intimidation, and other electoral malpractices would contribute to free and fair choices and show that INEC would not tolerate these illegal practices during the 2023 general choices.
There are reports of a brazen-faced pattern of vote- buying and electoral bribery in several polling units during the just concluded Ekiti guardianship election. There are reports of logrolling prices for votes and payments made in uncompleted structures and bags of foodstuff being participated after votes have been cast.
Amusement fleetly to address the brazen-faced immunity and reports of vote- buying and electoral bribery and other electoral offences during the Ekiti state guardianship election would also shoot a strong communication to politicians that INEC under your watch would not tolerate similar practices during the 2023 general choices.
The organization is concerned that the failure of INEC to stop vote buying, electoral bribery and intimidation is illustrated by the fact that the body has not seriously in this country
Vote buying and electoral bribery is a trouble to fair and representative choices. Vote buying amounts to overdue influence and indecorous electoral influence.
By engaging in vote buying and electoral bribery in so blatant a fashion, the politicians involved and their guarantors have easily told choosers to bounce for him, contrary to the Electoral Act, therefore raising serious questions about the legality and validity of the election.
A corruption-free electoral process is essential for erecting public confidence in the electoral process, and the credibility and legality of the 2023 choices.
One of the people’s most sacred rights is the right to bounce. INEC has a indigenous and statutory responsibility to insure the effective exercise of the right of all eligible choosers to share in their own government in free and fair choices.
precluding and combating vote buying and electoral bribery would advance the people’s right to bounce and to share in their own government, as well as bolster the capability of INEC to discharge its indigenous and statutory authorizations effectively and satisfactorily.
numerous times of allegations of vote- buying, overdue influence, ballot swiping, intimidation, and other electoral malpractices, as well as settled immunity of perpetrators have undermined public confidence in the electoral process.
executing allegations of vote- buying, overdue influence, ballot swiping, intimidation, and other electoral malpractices during the Ekiti state guardianship election
Would be entirely harmonious with the Nigerian Constitution, the Electoral Act, and the country’s transnational mortal rightsanti-corruption scores.
executing those that have been arrested and relating and arresting those who patronized, backed and abetted them and bringing them to justice
Would act as a interference against vote buying and electoral bribery and other electoral malpractices and offences in the February 2023 general choices.
Agents of the three dominant political parties in the state, videlicet All Revolutionaries Congress( APC), Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) and Social Democratic Party( SDP), were reportedly involved in buying votes across the state.
According to reports, agents of the three parties in Ward 007, PU 001, Ado LGA offered choosers as high as N10,000 in exchange for their votes.
There are also several reports of ballot box snatching including in polling units with canons13/05/06/ 005 and 007 in Ilawe Ward IV, nearSt. Patrick’s School.
In several voting units, party agents for the APC, PDP and SDP reportedly clustered around the voting chamber and saw how choosers marked their ballot papers.
Vote buying and electoral bribery, intimidation of choosers, ballot swiping and other electoral malpractices and offences undermine the capability of INEC to discharge its liabilities under Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution( as amended) and paragraph 15( a) of the third schedule of the Constitution, and the Electoral Act 2022.
Our country Constitution provides in Section 14( 1)( c) that, the participation by the people in their government shall be assured in agreement with the vittles of this Constitution.
Section 145( 2) of the Electoral Act provides that, ‘ a execution under this Act shall be accepted by legal officers of the Commission or any legal guru appointed by it.
Under section 2( b), the commission shall have power to promote knowledge of sound popular election processes.