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Osun guber poll: It is not our duty to stop vote-buying – INEC

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AHEAD of the Osun State governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is not its job to stop vote buying.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State Abdulganiy Raji said this when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday.

The REC, who expressed concern over the menace of vote buying, said INEC can only make efforts to sensitize the public against the criminal act.

According to him, the Commission has been trying to discourage vote-buying.

He noted that it is the responsibility of security agencies to stop vote-buying.

Raji said, “As far as vote-buying is concerned, let me tell you that INEC can not prevent vote-buying. We can only make efforts to ensure that people are discouraged from doing it through voter education and sensitisation which we have been doing extensively.

“Vote-buying and selling is a criminal offence and INEC is not a security agency that can actually make arrests. We can only inform the security agents when it [vote-buying] is taking place. Then, they (the perpetrators) will be arrested and prosecution will take place where we will be joined.

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“I am always surprised when people are talking about vote-buying and selling and they expect INEC to be able to stop it, an act that has nothing to do with the mandate of the management of an election.”

The REC pointed that questions concerning vote-buying should be addressed to relevant agencies.

He added that the outrage against vote-buying should be directed at the individuals involved in the practice.

“The people that are involved in vote-buying and selling are actually those that should be addressed.”

In the same vein, the REC said voters who refused to fold their ballot papers after casting their votes should be arrested by security agents.

He however assured that INEC would work with other critical stakeholders to curb the menace of vote-buying in Nigeria’s elections.

The ICIR reported that cases of vote-buying were recorded in the recent gubernatorial election in Ekiti State.

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It was observed that party agents paid some voters to vote for their candidates at various polling units.

Author profile

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: umustapha@icirnigeria.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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