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SERAP to INEC: You have 14 days to investigate vote buying in Ekiti election
THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a 14-day ultimatum to promptly, thoroughly and effectively investigate allegations of vote buying by both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) during last Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State.
SERAP in an open letter to Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, urged the Commission to collaborate with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to carry out such investigation.
In a letter dated July 17, 2018 and signed by Adetokunbo Mumuni , Executive Director, SERAP said the electoral body should “take steps within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter,” noting that it would institute legal proceedings to compel the Commission to discharge its constitutional and statutory responsibilities in the public interest at the expiration of the ultimatum.
It also urged INEC to “prosecute anyone suspected to be involved and/or complicit in the alleged vote buying, if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of electoral bribery and abuse of the electoral and democratic process against them.”
SERAP argued that, “it is the responsibility of INEC as an independent body to take meaningful steps and action to minimise electoral bribery by politicians, ensure political equality and prevent unfair electoral competition. No body politic worthy of being called a democracy entrusts the selection of leaders to a process of auction or barter.”
“Vote buying amounts to undue influence and improper electoral influence. When politicians buy votes, they reinforce social subjugation and do long-term damage to poor voters, as vote buying impairs voters’ already limited political power and participation in governance. Offering and giving poor people money to buy their votes is the hallmark of political disrespect, as it implies that politicians perceive voters as lacking autonomy,” it said.