INEC raises alarm over new vote buying technique

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (3rd, R); Chief Observer, EU Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, Maria Arena (3rd, L); INEC Commissioners and other members of the Mission, during their visit to INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday (21/1/19). 00706/21/1/2019/Hogan Bassey/BJO/NAN
FILE: INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (3rd, R); Chief Observer, EU Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019, Maria Arena (3rd, L); INEC Commissioners and other members of the Mission, during their visit to INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday (21/1/19). 00706/21/1/2019/Hogan Bassey/BJO/NAN

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised alarm over a new method of vote buying.

The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said the plan is to use food vendors around polling units as collection points of cash for votes.

Mr Mahmood made this known on Monday at the opening of a meeting with the European Union (EU) Observation Team and the ECOWAS delegation at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

The commission said this issue was brought to its notice during its recent consultations with stakeholders across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.

“The attention of the commission was drawn to a new plan by some political actors to use food vendors around polling units with large voter populations as collection points for cash-for-votes as well as other forms of material inducement to voters on election day,” Mr Mahmood said.

Although vote buying has been present in Nigerian elections for a while, it is believed to have gotten worse with recent elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states.

Due to vote buying, INEC banned the use of smart phones by voters at polling booths.

The EU delegation led by Chief Observer Maria Arena and the ECOWAS delegation led by Chinedu Chinedu, both informed the commission of the number of longterm observers sent to Nigeria.

Mr Yakubu promised that INEC will continue to progressively improve elections and protect the sanctity of the vote while calling for support from all citizens and all actors.

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