- There have been reports that the recent Ekiti governorship polls witnessed some vote buying activities
- In response to this, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has requested that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should carry out a probe and prosecute those involved in the act
- SERAP also said that INEC's investigation into the issue should be extended to states like Anambra, Edo and Ondo
An anti-graft group, known as the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has requested that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should probe and prosecute alleged vote buyers during the recent Ekiti governorship polls.
The group, in an open letter on Tuesday, July 17, written by Adetokunbo Mumuni, its director, asked INEC to solicit the help of anti-corruption agencies in order to track down the culprits that were involved in the act, Punch reports.
It said it anyone suspected to be involved in the vote buying scandal must be prosecuted. “If there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of electoral bribery and abuse of the electoral and democratic process against them,” SERAP said.
SERAP said it gave Professor Yakubu Mahmood, the chairman of INEC, a 14-day ultimatum to take the appropriate steps on its request, threatening that it would take legal action if its request is overlooked.
SERAP stated: “It is the responsibility of INEC, as an independent body, to take meaningful steps and action to minimise electoral bribery by politicians, ensure political equality and prevent unfair electoral competition.
“No body politic worthy of being called a democracy entrusts the selection of leaders to a process of auction or barter.
“Vote buying amounts to undue influence and improper electoral influence. When politicians buy votes, they reinforce social subjugation and do long-term damage to poor voters, as vote buying impairs voters’ already limited political power and participation in governance.
“Offering and giving poor people money to buy their votes is the hallmark of political disrespect, as it implies that politicians perceive voters as lacking autonomy.
“Investigating the allegations and prosecuting all those suspected to be involved would indicate your agencies’ willingness to exert your authorities and act as a deterrent against breaches of the electoral process, Nigeria’s anti-corruption legislation and international standards.”
It urged INEC not to restrict its probe to Ekiti but to stretch it to Anambra, Edo and Ondo states.
Earlier, NAIJ.com reported that the Centre for Transparency and Advocacy (CTA) an election observer and monitoring group for the Ekiti governorship election condemned the widespread cases of vote buying by politicians and their agents which was a major feature in the keenly contested poll.
Did Ekiti Residents Take Money to Vote? | NAIJ.com TV