Osun election: UK commends INEC, demands prosecution of vote buyers

THE United Kingdom (UK) has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for improvements recorded in the just concluded gubernatorial election in Osun State.

The UK government, through the British High Commission in Abuja, commented on the election on Monday in a statement titled ‘Statement on the Osun State Governorship Election’.

However, the UK also expressed concern over reported cases of vote-buying and urged the authorities to hold people involved accountable.

The statement noted that the results released by INEC for Saturday’s governorship matched results obtained through the civil society-led Parallel Vote Tabulation process.

The UK commended INEC, the security agencies, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders that participated in the election.

Parts of the statement read, “The British High Commission congratulates the people of Osun State for their active, peaceful and democratic participation in the governorship election that was held on Saturday, 16 July 2022.

“We note that the results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are consistent with the results obtained through civil society-led Parallel Vote Tabulation process.

“We commend INEC, the security agencies, civil society partners led by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and all stakeholders for their contribution to the success of the process.

“Our Commission which observed the election on Saturday was encouraged by the continuing improvements in the electoral process, following the governorship election in Ekiti State last month. The timely opening of polls, functionality of the BVAS devices for accreditation of voters and electronic transmission of results, accessibility provisions for people with disabilities and vulnerable voters and increased turnout of voters were all factors worth commending about the process.”






     

     

    Frowning at reports of vote-buying, the UK government added, “We are concerned by reports from some locations of apparent vote-buying and hope that persons involved are held to account by the relevant authorities.”

    The UK advised INEC to build on progress recorded in the election, and assured the Federal Government of continued support towards the development of the electoral system.

    “As Nigeria approaches the 2023 general election, we encourage INEC and all relevant stakeholders to build on the progress made in the last two governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States as it builds on the strong legal foundation provided by the new Electoral Act to implement an electoral system that promotes the free and meaningful participation of young people, women, persons with disabilities and citizens generally in the democratic process.

    “The UK will continue to support Nigeria, its institutions and civil society in drawing lessons from these elections to secure the integrity of its electoral system and the deepening of Nigeria’s democracy,” the statement added.

    Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in society. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.

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