A Civil Society Organisation, Speak Out Africa, has launched a campaign and initiative against vote buying ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The group launched the initiative, Vote Buying Disruptor (VBD), in Abuja on Tuesday.
Vote buying has become a major challenge in Nigeria’s electoral process.
Recent off-cycle governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States were specifically characterised by vote buying.
#65DaysOfCivicActionTo2023Election is centred on four grave concern areas which are inimical to the credibility of the election, Speak Out Africa said.
The four areas are vote buying, technology, polling unit security and voter suppression.
The campaign, according to the group, will be held weekly on Twitter until the week of the election.
It will also be a conversation-based programme where experts will discuss the way forward to ensure a free and fair election.
Aside from the campaign, the group made suggestions on how to address the key areas of concern it listed.
It recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should make use of new and creative techniques in the coming elections.
At the event, the Executive Director, Kenneth Eze of Speak Out Africa, said simultaneous accreditation and actual voting can be done at the same time as against performing accreditation and staying back to cast vote at a later time.
“We recommend to INEC, Voting Cubicle Reform (VCR), which is to review/ensure vote thumbprint and casting are done simultaneously INSIDE THE SAME CUBICLE,” he said.
Also, the group suggested the use of BVAS Location Tracker (BLT), which will detect if any voting action takes place in different locations aside from the configured exact location.
“This will stop thugs who invade the polling units from carting away ballot boxes to an unknown different location, thereby making the polling unit result invalid.
“We recommend Security Agents’ Encryption (SAE) which will encrypt any assigned security agents to polling units and be held accountable for security lapses and vote buying,” it said.
It said the Nigeria police through the Inspector General of Police should make each officer assigned public in their portal, newspapers, polling units and INEC website with appropriate penalties spelt out.
It called for Voting-Time Extension (VTE) which is simply for INEC to review their election guidelines and extend the voting time to give room for more Nigerian voters not to miss out due to voting time suffocation.
It, therefore, recommended that voting time should be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on election day.
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