Osun guber: INEC moves to curb vote buying 

To stem the tide of vote buying in July 16 Osun state governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on security agencies to expedite action to curb the menace.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the call at a special meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the weekend.

The meeting convened to review security arrangements for the Osun state Governorship election,  held at the INEC Headquarter, Abuja on Saturday.

Addressing the representatives of the agencies, INEC Chairman who doubles as co-chairman of ICCES said “arising from the experience in recent elections, vote buying remains a major area of concern.

He said, “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.”

Prof. Yakubu appreciated the efforts of the security agencies in ensuring the smooth and peaceful conduct of the Ekiti election. He said; “the synergy between the Commission and the security agencies on the one hand, and among the security agencies on the other, ensured a seamless coordination of efforts resulting in the widely acclaimed success of the election”.

He noted that “security was well-coordinated. The election was peaceful. Personnel and materials were deployed promptly. Election Day processes commenced as scheduled. Election technology functioned optimally. Results were transmitted from the Polling Units and collated at the various collation centres in record time.

“I must, on behalf of the Commission, convey our appreciation to all members of ICCES for the success of the election. We must continue to build on the success of the Ekiti experience to ensure improved performance in subsequent elections, including the 2023 General Election.”

On securing the electoral space for the Osun governorship election, the INEC Chairman explained that “the Commission is keeping a close watch on the security situation in Osun State. Although it is generally calm at the moment, we are nevertheless concerned about reports of clashes in some places”.

He narrated an unfortunate incident of attempted PVC theft. According to him, “In one recent example, the collection of Permanent Voters 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”.

On his part, the Co-Chairman of ICCES and National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd), commended the “impressive performance by the INEC as well the ICCES member agencies as there were no any major incident of security concern recorded during and after the election”.

Represented by Mr. Sanusi Galadima, the NSA, however, said more needed to be done in terms of enlightenment campaign to encourage voters to come out and cast their votes on the day of the election. 

This, according to him, “is because of the low turnout recorded during the election compared to the total number of registered voters in the state”.

The NSA called on INEC to to redouble the Voter Education and Enlightenment efforts ahead of the Osun State Guber election and the forthcoming general elections in 2023.

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