Kogi Election: CDD raises alarm over vote buying in Lokoja, Koton Karfe LGAs
LESS than 24 hours to the commencement of 2019 Kogi State governorship election, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a not-for-profit advocacy organisation has raised alarm about the incident of vote buying in Kogi State.
In a press release signed by CDD director, Idayat Hassan and shared with The ICIR, CDD said its observers have witnessed the distribution of gift items such as Ankara textile materials and bags of rice in Lokoja and Koton Karfe Local Government Areas.
Also, INEC Supervising Presiding Officers (SPO) have been induced with cash across the 21 Local Government Areas of the State, CDD has disclosed.
A major political party has approached INEC officials “with bribes of USD1,000 to buy them over,”
CDD said this finding was also confirmed from Bureau de Change (BDC) Operators in Lokoja who were interviewed.
“The BDC operators report that there are has been an upsurge in the number of customers calling to change USD1000 to Naira.”
Mrs. Hassan said the use of financial inducement to subvert the credibility of the electoral process is antithetical to the democratic ethos.
“CDD condemns in the strongest possible terms all forms of inducement of poll officials. The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) expressly frowns at bribery and all forms of inducement of poll officials.
“Specifically, Section 124(4) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended states: ‘Any person who commits the offence of bribery is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both'”.
The organisation called on the anti-corruption agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to thoroughly investigate these reports in order to hold to account the perpetrators of these electoral crimes.
CDD wants all the suspects involved in the crime arrested.
” INEC should fine-tune its monitoring mechanisms to ensure that all compromised electoral officials are removed from the process immediately.
“The good people of Kogi State should be aware that if they sell their votes, they are mortgaging their future and compromising the possibility of good governance for their own benefits.”