Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti
Some domestic election observer groups have called for prosecution and punishment of anyone caught for vote-buying in future elections in the country.
They urged the National Assembly to review the Electoral Act and enact laws that impose strict punishment on the offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.
The observer groups comprised of New Initiative For Social Development, International Federation of Women Lawyers, and Centre for Social Justice, Good Health and Community Development, stated this in their report on the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State.
The coalition told the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to set a machinery in motion to ensure that such review was carried out before the 2019 general elections.
At a joint press conference in Ado Ekiti on Monday, the NISD Executive Director, Abiodun Oyeleye and FIDA Programme Officer, Blessing Ajileye, commended INEC for bringing innovations that improved the quality of the conduct of the election.
According to them, the five security men deployed per polling unit prevented incidents of ballot snatching that had marred elections in the past.
Oyeleye exonerated the police of complicity in the votes’ buying syndrome, saying chasing the perpetrators around the polling units could have distracted them from their fundamental role of protecting the election materials, electorate and INEC staff during the election.