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2019: INEC alleges plans by politicians to use food vendors for vote buying

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INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu
INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu
INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC said it has uncovered plans by some politicians to station food vendors within polling units to use them as “cash points” to voters who would sell their votes to them.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, revealed Monday in Abuja, when he played host to the European Union Chief Observer, Mrs Maria Arena, that the commission will fight any process that will ridicule its resolve to conduct a transparent, free and fair election in the country.

“Following recent consultations with stakeholders across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, the attention of the commission was drawn to a new plan by some political actors to use food vendors around polling units with large voter populations as collection points for cash-for-votes as well as other forms of material inducement to voters on Election Day. We are aware of this trick. It will not work,” Yakubu disclosed.

He noted that the Smart Card Readers will be deployed on election day for voter verification, confirmation and authentication.

“We have enhanced them and improved their functionality. Clause 10 of the Regulations and Guidelines recently released by the commission makes the use of Card Readers mandatory. It is an offence to accredit a voter by any other means. INEC not outsourcing ad hoc staff recruitment

“The bulk of ad hoc staff for election duty will be drawn from the pool of young Nigerians serving in the National Youth Service scheme. The commission has established clear criteria for drawing from students of tertiary institutions to make up for any shortfalls. This has been the practice over several electoral cycles. Similarly, Collation and Returning Officers are drawn from senior academic staff of federal universities led by the vice chancellors. We have already commenced the process following our meeting with the vice chancellors last week. In addition, there is a clearly established system of vetting all election duty staff before they are engaged.

“Therefore, the claim that the commission has outsourced the recruitment of election duty staff to partisan actors is the usual allegation on the eve of elections and should be disregarded. With 25 days to the 2019 general elections, the commission’s attention is firmly focused on the conduct of credible elections. We will not be distracted into a fatuous debate.

“I wish to assure the EU that our preparation for the 2019 general election is on course. We have had a series of very assuring meetings with the security agencies in order to ensure that processes are protected, the right of voters to vote freely safeguarded, access for observers and the media guaranteed, the election transparent and the outcome a true reflection of the will of the Nigerian people,” Yakubu added.

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