The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ), has warned its staff against conniving with politicians to promote the culture of vote buying that has inhibited democratic consolidation in the country.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC) in Ekiti State, Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, explained that INEC staff should not be blamed for the malfeasance but politicians, that many of the commission’s staff do compromise to perpetrate the offence through polling booths arrangement that could facilitate the unacceptable practice.
Raji who spoke on the inability of the Nigerians in diaspora to vote in the 2019 elections, said there was no legal provision backing such policy for now, pointing out that this could only happen if the existing constitution and the Electoral Acts are amended to accommodate electronic voting.
The REC said these in Ado Ekiti on Thursday while delivering a lecture themed: ‘Women Participation in Electronic Process in Ekiti State: What exists, Challenges and Benefits’, at a workshop organized by New initiative for Social Development (NISD)in collaboration with Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room.
Speaking at the forum, Raji said the electoral management body is being challenged with the litigation on the guidelines to use for the poll.
He added that could serve as clogs in achieving success in the forthcoming election.
He stated that many of the new innovations fashioned into the electoral processes by INEC were being hindered by some parties in courts, saying these may create confusion for the commission.
“The commission can’t deny the fact that there was vote buying in the system, but this was being done by politicians by way of manipulating the placement of the polling booths so that those voting can be monitored for financial inducement.
“In most cases, some party leaders do coerce or manipulate our staff so that they can be favoured in such arrangement which INEC did not support. INEC is not in support of any action that can affect the actual outcome of elections and that we had told our staff, who are foreigners in most cases”.
Raji advised that political parties may end up having high void votes in the coming elections if INEC staff are stampeded to circumvent the use of smart card readers.
“INEC is no longer using Incident Forms. Whatever votes that will be counted as being valid must be verified and authenticated by Smart card readers, so resorting to other means will not be accepted by our commission.
“If the smart card readers are not working as expected, call for another one because any votes not authenticated by the machine will be regarded as invalid”, he said.
He urged political parties against institutionalising any structures that could manipulate the internal democracy against women emergence for political positions, saying doing so would amount to