Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is yet to receive an authentic reports regarding the allegation of financial inducement of its officers at the just concluded bye-election in Bauchi State.
Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary of INEC, while reacting to enquiry by Elendu Reports said the Commission takes compliance with its Code of Conduct, particularly where it concerns the conduct of elections very seriously.
“If we receive authentic reports of the involvement of our staff members in election malpractice, such reports will be thoroughly investigated and any staff member implicated will be questioned and given a fair hearing, according to the Civil Service Rules. The Commission has demonstrated its zero tolerance for any form of election malpractice,” he said
Oyekanmi insisted that vote buying is an electoral offence and bad for the country’s democracy as well as the electoral process, adding that, “however, vote buying has suddenly become attractive again because politicians have now realised that it will be very difficult and impossible to rig elections, due to INEC’s strong processes.”
He stressed that the Commission is already taking steps to reconfigure our Polling Units to make it difficult for voters to show their ballot papers to vote buyers during the Election.
Besides, he noted that INEC would continue to work with the security agencies to find innovative ways of dealing with this phenomenon.
The electoral body implored political parties not to engage in this act. We shall step up our Voter Education narratives to encourage Nigerians to shun vote buyers.
Oyekanmi regretted the electoral violence that marred some areas during the by-election in Kogi state, describing it as unfortunate.
“As far as INEC is concerned, it is unacceptable and against the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). We have been talking to political parties about this and other issues under the aegis of the Inter -Party Advisory Council (IPAC). We also regularly discuss measures to prevent it with security agencies under the platform of the Inter-Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on a quarterly basis and as the need arises.”
He said that INEC would also continue to work with the security agencies to bring perpetrators to book.