The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Polling Unit Ambassadors of Nigeria (PUAN) said strategies were being worked out to effectively police the polling units to tackle vote buying ahead of 2023.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, commended the initiative while receiving PUAN members after a roadwalk tagged “Operation Don’t Sell Don’t Buy Votes.
Yakubu represented by the Senior Officer, Voter Education Department, Mr David Mabadeje said vote trading is a cancer to Nigeria’s elections and stakeholders needed to work together to stamp it out.
According to him, INEC is deeply worried about a situation whereby political agents woo voters with cash during elections.
“In view of its negative effect on the electoral process INEC will continue to collaborate with security agencies in identifying, arresting and prosecuting both givers and recievers of cash inducement at the 2023 elections.
“The commission has come up with strategies and techniques that made sure that people do not enter the voting compartments with their mobile phones that can take pictures.
“We are also collaborating with different security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to make sure that plain clothe security personnel is deployed to stem the issue of vote buying and selling.
“NEC shall further strategise with security agencies for a more robust response to the arrest and prosecution of vote traders and the commission will also continue to encourage and engage with groups like PUAN on more effective voter education.”
The INEC boss said it had become imperative for the country to establish an Electoral Offence Commission that will collaborate with the Commission to check electoral fraud and other related crimes .
Secretary General of Polling Unit Ambassador of Nigeria (PUAN) Mr Osa Osaghae said the Association is worried about vote trading and is committed to exposing the perpetrators for arrest and prosecution.
Osaghae said the handling over of the red flag to the Commission was an indication that Nigerians were ready to put an end to vote trading.
He commended INEC for the good work it was doing urging the Commission to continue to build the confidence of Nigerians to ensure free, fair and credible polls in 2022.