The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that it is not its responsibility to prevent vote buying ahead of the governorship election taking place in Osun state this Saturday, July 16.
In response to reports of vote-buying and selling tainting the Ekiti governorship election, which was held last month, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Prof Abdulganiy Raji, said on Thursday evening, June 14, on Channels Television that while the act is a crime, INEC is not a security agency that can actually make arrests.
“As far as vote-buying is concerned, let me tell you that INEC can not prevent vote-buying. We can only make efforts to ensure that people are discouraged from doing it through voter education and sensitisation which we have been doing extensively.
“Vote-buying and selling is a criminal offence and INEC is not a security agency that can actually make arrests. We can only inform the security agents when it [vote-buying] is taking place. Then, they (the perpetrators) will be arrested and prosecution will take place where we will be joined.
“I am always surprised when people are talking about vote-buying and selling and they expect INEC to be able to stop it, an act that has nothing to do with the mandate of the management of an election.
“The people that are involved in vote-buying and selling are actually those that should be addressed.”
Raji also said that INEC would work with other critical stakeholders to curb the menace of vote-buying in Nigeria’s elections.
Also announcing that INEC has made a new design for election cubicles as part of efforts to discourage election rigging, he also disclosed that voters who refused to fold their ballot papers after thumb printing should be arrested by security agents.