The British High Commission in Nigeria on Monday expressed concerns about vote buying, which reportedly characterised Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State, South-west Nigeria.
It, however, commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for improving on the electoral process.
The High Commission stated this in a statement on Monday, in Abuja.
The election saw Biodun Oyebanji of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) emerge as governor– elect of Ekiti State, with 187,057 votes.
He defeated the candidates of the PDP, SDP and 13 other parties.
The High Commission said the buying and selling of votes has no place in a democracy.
“The buying and selling of votes has no place in a democracy,” it said.
“We urge any party or individual who is dissatisfied with the process to seek redress in a peaceful manner and through the appropriate legal channels.”
Stating that its team was in the state to observe the poll, the High Commission commended INEC for the improvement in the electoral process.
“Our team of observers on the ground noted commendable improvement in the electoral process including the timely opening of polls, better functioning of the BVAS devices for accrediting voters, and the transparent and efficient electronic transmission of polling unit results to INEC’s results viewing portal.”
It also encouraged INEC to reflect on other potential improvements to the electoral process ahead of the 2023 general elections.
It specifically asked the electoral body to improve on “the re-distribution and assignment of voters to newly established polling units to reduce queuing times, better awareness and implementation of electoral guidelines by INEC staff and improved accessibility at polling units to help with the participation of persons with disabilities.”
The High Commission congratulated the people of Ekiti State just as it described the election as a peaceful and democratic.
While encouraging Nigerians to register and collect their PVCs, it assured that the UK will continue to assist INEC and partners in their aspiration to support peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Nigeria.
Chiamaka Okafor is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.
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