2023 Polls: INEC, Police Declare War Against Vote Buying

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As part of their determination for a credible, free, fair and corrupt-free elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force have declared that they are resolved to prevent vote buying.

The two critical organisations therefore assured citizens of their preparations for the successful conduct of the polls devoid of malpractices.

These were made known during a radio town hall meeting against electoral corruption organized by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development (PRIMORG) at the weekend in Abuja during which the agencies of government said that preparations for the conduct of the 2023 general elections were top gear.

In his statement, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the Commission is ready to conduct the elections, revealing that the electoral body has already deployed sensitive and non-sensitive materials up to the local government level.

Mahmood, represented by Deputy Director, Voter Education, Mary Nkem, assured that the introduction of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), had eliminated impersonation from elections in Nigeria, adding that INEC’s ad-hoc staff are under oath not to compromise the process.

On his part, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) of the Nigeria Police, said that the Police was ready for the 2023 election”.

The Force PPRO, who was represented by CSP Femi Adedeji, said that the Police had deployed intelligence officers to sniff out people involved in vote trading as well as set up desk officers across states who will receive complaints of vote trading and other forms of election malpractices.

The INEC Chairman said that to ensure that the Commission’s ad-hoc staff deployed on election day are upright, they were made to go through intensive training, scrutiny and supervision by staff of the Commission.

According to Mahmood; “INEC is ready for this election coming up on Saturday, 25th of February and Saturday, 11th March, 2023, in that all our materials have been delivered to the states and have been dispatched to the various local governments.

“We have commenced the training of poll officials, some have been completed, and our Supervisory Presiding Officers’ training is still ongoing for other levels of officials. The commission is ready because sensitive and non-sensitive materials have arrived in various states.”

Commenting on the integrity of the polls, the INEC boss said; “the use of BVAS in off-season elections has helped in curbing electoral malpractices.

“The collaborations with the Police and other law enforcement agencies are helping to curb vote trading. In a deliberate attempt to stop vote buying, we have rearranged the voting cubicle and banned the use of mobile phones inside the voting cubicle.

“In the past, when a voter’s fingerprint fails to be authenticated, the voter will be given an incident form to fill to be able to cast his or her vote, and in that regard, you find out that so many people could impersonate, but with the BVAS, it will not be possible to impersonate because once your fingerprint fails to be authenticated, your face cannot fail especially if you are the owner of the face and you came with it to the polling unit”.

On the part of the police, CSP Adedeji, said the force will rely on the deployment of over 300,000 personnel and the commissioning of new equipment to help the Force deliver on its responsibilities during and after the elections.

He further said; “The Police are ready. The challenge used to be about logistics, but in the last several days, those things have been overcome with the new equipment being commissioned, including buses, personnel, and carriers. We have more personnel on the ground deployed and intelligence officers. Then we have more uniformed officers that will be visible on election day.

“We have Policemen at every polling booth who will support the electoral officials and the police team who will be ready to respond with the use of force if there is a need for the use of force,” Adedeji stated.

 

 

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