Sunday 19 June 2022

Ekiti election: APC, PDP, SDP bought votes – SERAP writes INEC


Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to probe financial inducements during the Ekiti election.

The organization, in a letter, issued a one-week ultimatum to the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu to commence the probe.

SERAP wants the electoral umpire to gather information about vote-buying, undue influence, intimidation, and ballot box snatching, amongst others.

The group also urged INEC to prosecute those arrested and bring to justice anyone who sponsored, aided and abetted them. 

Deputy Director SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare said wealthy candidates and their sponsors ought not to be allowed to profit from their crimes.

Oluwadare noted that impunity during elections is widely prevalent in Nigeria, as perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.

“If voting is as important as INEC always claims it is, now is the time to end the buying of democracy by wealthy politicians and their sponsors”, the letter reads.

SERAP highlighted the Ekiti election reports of negotiations for prices for votes and payments as well as bags of foodstuff shared after votes were cast.

“Agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) were reportedly involved in buying votes across the state.

“According to reports, agents of the three parties in Ward 007, PU 001, Ado LGA offered voters as high as N10,000 in exchange for their votes.

“There are also several reports of ballot box snatching, including in polling units with codes 13/05/06/005 and 007 in Ilawe Ward IV, near St. Patrick’s School.”

SERAP added that in several units, party agents were said to have clustered around the voting cubicle and saw how voters marked their ballot papers.

The group reminded INEC that bribery and other offences undermine its ability to discharge its responsibilities under Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2022.

The letter, which demanded that INEC take measures within seven days, threatened to take legal action if nothing is done.

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