Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
As part of efforts to check vote-buying and selling in the coming general elections in Kwara State, the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Garba Madami, has said that no one would be allowed to bring food items to polling centres.
Politicians and their agents had been reported to hid money inside food items to induce voters at poling centres in the past.
Speaking at an all-inclusive stakeholders forum ahead of coming elections, in Ilorin, on Thursday, the Kwara State REC said that the electoral body now collaborates with anti-graft agencies like the EFCC and the ICPC to monitor vote-buying and selling with determination to reduce it to the barest minimum.
Madami, who said that vehicles would not be allowed near polling centres during the election, added that “You can’t bring in your phone to polling booth to snap picture of your ballot paper to show who you’ve voted for”.
He said that politicians had in the past brought in money in vehicles to polling centres to buy votes.
“Now, anti-graft agencies like the EFCC and the ICPC are now monitoring vote buyers and sellers because of our collaboration with them.
“That’s why money is not circulating in this campaign unlike before. More so, our card readers and PVC are working well now.
“And that’s why politicians are desperate to go for vote buying. If we succeed in this, we would have credible election”, he said.
The REC, who said that February 8, 2019, is the last day for PVCs collection, added that there were over 300,000 outstanding PVCs yet to be collected in the state.
He said that voting would take place in a total of 2,886 polling points across the state, adding that no one would be disenfranchised in the election as long as they possess PVCs for voting.
Madami also said that pregnant women, old people and the physically-challenged would be given preference to vote without having to queque up, adding that political parties and voters would not be allowed to carry arms during the election except their PVCs.
He said that the number of political parties that had signed peace accord with the electoral body had risen to 29 and cautioned political parties to be mindful of their actions, speeches in order not to cause violence before, during and after the elections.
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