…expresses worries over insecurity, vote buying
Independent National Electoral Commission, on Saturday, expressed fears about the July 16 governorship election in Osun State.
Already, INEC has identified vote-buying and insecurity as some of the major concerns ahead of the gubernatorial election in the state.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this in Abuja during a high level security and other stakeholders’ meeting on INEC’s preparedness for the election.
But Yakubu stressed that INEC had plans to ensure the success of the Osun governorship election.
Heads of various security agencies, the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner and the state Commissioner of Police also attended the meeting tagged inter-agency consultative committee.
The INEC chairman said that the synergy between the commission and the security agencies on the one hand, and among the security agencies on the other, made a seamless coordination of efforts possible during the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti State widely acclaimed as a success.
Yakubu noted that the Ekiti State election did not spill over to the second day as was the case in past elections, adding that ballot box snatching and destruction of voting exercise were not recorded.
But he admitted that vote buying was rampant, saying it’s imperative to address this challenge.
He also promised to build on the success of the Ekiti experience to ensure improved performance in subsequent elections, including the 2023 General Election.
Yakubu said the next two weeks will be devoted to the Osun election as one of the series of off season elections.
The INEC boss added that the commission would observe the mock accreditation of voters in some Polling Units (PUs) across the three senatorial districts in the state to test the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
He noted that though the atmosphere was generally calm at the moment, he expressed concern about reports of clashes in some places.
Yakubu said, “In one recent example, the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) was disrupted in Erin Oke and Erin Ijesha Wards of Oriade Local Government Area resulting in the loss of 46 PVCs. While the matter is being investigated by the police, the collection of PVCs for the affected Wards is now taking place in the INEC office in Ijebu-Jesha.”
He said that the state office has compiled the Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of the cards and the Commission had already reprinted the PVCs for the affected voters.
He assured all valid registrants in Osun State that no one would be disenfranchised on account of such incident.
He said, “It is futile for anyone to attempt to vote using another person’s PVC. The BVAS biometric accreditation will expose such fraud and persons apprehended will be prosecuted under the law.
“Recent experience had shown that vote buying remains a major area of concern. We appreciate the role played by the anti-corruption and security agencies in apprehending some of the perpetrators of this brazen assault on our democracy.
“In particular, we are working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure the prosecution of persons arrested in the recent Ekiti Governorship election. Action will commence as soon as the EFCC completes its investigation. I appeal to all security agencies to continue to join hands with the Commission to tackle this menace.”
Yakubu also reassured all Nigerians who applied for Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents arising from the recent party congresses, primaries and nomination of candidates that all requests were being attended to expeditiously despite the huge quantities of documents involved.