By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT – INDEPENDENT National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said the unethical culture of vote buying in Nigerian politics was being instigated by political parties in the country.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Rivers, Obo Effanga, who expressed the view Monday in Port Harcourt, said the electorate would not sell their votes if politicians and their parties don’t make offers.
“If the political parties are not bringing money to buy votes, there won’t be vote buying, so the problem starts with the parties. Then there must be orientation for citizens to know that their vote is a very sacred mandate that you just don’t give up for a token.
“I tell people, no amount offered for you vote will last more than a week and then you would have voted somebody on induced influence for four years”, Effanga advised.
On dealing with electoral offenders on the field of voting, the Rivers REC said, “We have law enforcement agencies at the polling units. If they see people openly buying votes or contravening other rules, it is their responsibility to decide what to do.
“However, in trying to effect arrest of one, two, three, four or more offender voters who are selling or buying votes, we should also be cautious to ensure that in doing that it doesn’t lead to disruption of voting in their polling unit.”
… As IPAC fumes over INEC’s failure to conclude suspended Rivers by-election
Meanwhile the Inter-Party Advisory Committee, IPAC, in Rivers state has called on INEC to conclude the Port Harcourt Constituency 3 by-election suspended by the commission back in August 18.
IPAC is worried that over one month after INEC suspended the said election over violence disruption of the exercise, the commission was yet to conclude the process.
IPAC chairman, Samuel Ihunwor, said, “INEC’s position in suspending the exercise was quite welcomed. The only thing we are asking is when will this election be concluded?
“The rugged stand of INEC on the matter showed there is hope for the common man, but when you have suspended, when will conclude. I urge them to conclude that election so that the constituency can have representation in the state assembly.”
INEC has, since announcing cancellation of the exercise, failed to address widespread calls for it to revisit and conclude exercise against his apparent indefinite posture.