As the 2019 general elections draw near, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on Nigerians to resist the lure of selling their votes.
National Electoral Commissioner in charge of southwest, Adedeji Soyebi made the call in Abuja at the high-level post-election roundtable on the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti state.
“We need to work on people to stop selling their votes because it is their conscience they are selling;it means that money has become the determining factor of their choices,” Soyebi said.
“As a country, we need to think about this and find a solution to it, we need to start talking about it because the process made it difficult for INEC to really have a say.
The national electoral commissioner said that the menace had eaten deep into the political system of the country and needed to be stopped.
According to him, “It makes it very difficult for the commission to really have a say because the moment the person casts his or her vote, he or she goes somewhere to collect his or her money.’’
He said that the commission had been talking about vote-buying since the Anambra election and would continue to do so through increased sensitisation of voters, through voter education for them to shun the act.
He explained that “What happened in Ekiti state, if we are going to be very honest with ourselves is that, they did it so perfectly but very much distant from the polling units. This is how it works, a voter walks into our polling unit after being verified and he or she casts his or her vote, that is where our relationship with the person ends.
“Every form of vote-buying we are talking about- 80 per cent or 100 per cent- always takes place after the person has cast his votes. When we talk about vote-buying, we forget that it is the twin sister of vote-selling because there is no buying without selling.“ Soyebi said.
INEC national commissioner in charge of operations, Hajia Amina Zakari debunked claims that the commission rigged the election in Ekiti to favour the governor-elect, Kayode Fayemi.