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INEC moves to stem vote-buying, selling

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[FILE PHOTO] INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu

Ahead of 2019 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is determined to end the practice of vote-buying and selling before the election.

The Director of Electoral Party Monitoring ((EPM), Mr. Aminu Idris, stated this yesterday in Calabar during a Methodology Workshop on Campaign Finance Tracking and Debriefing on Political Parties’ Primaries.

While noting that the challenges parties faced during their primaries was due to poor planning, Idris urged them to be proactive, adding “To address some of these challenges, it is an on-going process that by 2019 general election, the commission is determined to properly address these issues of vote-buying and vote-selling.

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The challenges are at the discretion of the political parties so the executive committees or organs of the parties should step up their games. They need to be more proactive in terms of planning by giving opportunities to members who want to contest to have full right. That is why the commission is always emphasising on internal party democracy.”

He expressed the hope that if all contestants we are allowed to take part in primaries, “I don’t think we will be having all these complaints. So the challenge is with the party executives to carry out free, fair elections.”

In his welcome speech, Project Coordinator, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), Mr. Rudolf Elbling, said political parties, which are primary stakeholders in the electoral process, should carry out their activities, especially in the areas of campaign finance and conduct of primaries, in a manner that implicates the transparency and integrity of the electoral system.

He noted that excessive and improper deployment of money compromised the freedom of people to exercise their choices in elections, stressing that the decision to put the workshop together was with the objectives of building the capacity of INEC staff to effectively monitor the campaign finances of political parties ahead of the 2019 election.

Elbling said the workshop was timely, adding, “This will also draw useful lessons from the recently conducted primaries of political parties.”

On his part, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Cross River State, Frankland Briyai, said the workshop would address issues concerning political parties’ refusal to disclose their finances.
 
Briyai, who spoke through INEC Administrative Secretary, Mrs. Irene Okoma, said it had been a great challenge for the commission to monitor such processes and urged INEC staff to take advantage of the training.


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