THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) have called for the speedy passage of the Electoral Offences Commission Bill.
INEC said the passage of the bill will help in combatting vote-buying and other related electoral offences.
Speaking at Nigerian Fact-Checkers Conference on Tuesday, INEC Chief Information Officer, Esther Chibuikwu said passage of the bill will improve the country’s electoral system.
“We believe that when the Electoral Offences Commission comes on board, we would be able to create that deterrent for people buying votes and we would be able to see cultural shift in vote trading.
“If we don’t have a law that deters people from vote-buying, Nigerians may continue to yield to vote-buying.”
She also stressed that the Commission’s openness in receiving electoral reports from observers have helped in improving the electoral process.
“The electoral observers remarks have helped in improving our electioneering and sanctity of votes,” she said.
Also speaking at the event, the deputy national chairman of IPAC, Maxwell Mgbubem, said the council would continue to engage all parties on the right conduct for peaceful polls.
“Our engagement with stakeholders is to ensure all parties abide by the rules of the game, devoid of violence.”
He stressed that IPAC has been engaging all the security agencies and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the general elections was peaceful.
“If you look at what has happened in Ekiti and Osun, you could see the role IPAC and other stakeholders played at the event. In fact, we were the first to raise alarm over vote-buying. That’s why we are rooting for the passage of the Electoral Offences Commission Bill. It would help deepen our electoral process.”
The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, who spoke at the event said patriotism cannot be legislated upon.
“Bond between states and citizens is needed to build patriotism and not by legislating,” he said.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.