Ekiti poll: CSO calls for prosecution of suspects arrested for vote buying

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has called for the prosecution of suspects arrested for alleged vote-buying in Saturday’s Ekiti State governorship election.

The Co-convener of the situation room, Mr James Ugochukwu, made the appeal on Sunday in Ado Ekiti when he briefed newsmen on the interim report of the organisation on the Ekiti election.

Ugochukwu said that while the election was generally peaceful and the turn out commendable, vote buying and selling had continued unabatedly.

He said that the description of the phenomenon as “stomach infrastructure” in the 2014 election had evolved into a new nomenclature now described as “see and buy”.

He condemned videos shared on social media showing voters displaying money collected for their votes.

“The ability of Ekiti politicians to make light of such a grave violation of extant laws is most unfortunate.

“Situation room strongly condemns this blatant violation of the electoral law.As we all know vote buying in as offence under the Electoral Act 2022.

“Vote buying is an offence under the Electoral Act 2022 and the penalty for that is N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment.

“We are calling on the relevant authorities to ensure that they arrest the people engaging in vote buying or selling to serve as deterrent to others as we are moving towards 2023,” Ugochukwu said.

He commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for arresting some people suspected to have been engaged in vote buying during the election.

He called for the sustenance of such in subsequent elections as well as prosecution of those involved in the act capable of undermining the electoral process.

“The people involved should be prosecuted according to the extant law, the Electoral Act and other laws guiding our electoral process.

“Let their arrests not just be a media show. Let them be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other people,” he said.

He commended the security agencies for arriving early, for protecting the vote and managing the crowd in most poling units.

He, however, said that it was unfortunate that their presence did not deter those involved in vote-buying.

He commended the people of Ekiti for their peaceful conduct throughout the voting process, and urged them to refrain from vote-buying in future elections.

“No matter how peaceful an election is, when there is vote buying it will undermine the ability of the people to engage with the government or hold any person that is elected accountable.

“We are calling on the people of Ekiti state to avoid votebuying in the general election and subsequent elections,” he said.

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