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Politicians Sandwich Money In Bread To Buy Votes – INEC.

 

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has accused politicians of inducing voters with money tucked in slices of bread on election days.

 

Speaking in the same vein, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, implored INEC, police and other security agencies to ensure free, fair and credible 2019 polls in the country.

Also at the occasion, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, expressed worry over the distribution of cash to the public by the federal government ahead of the 2019 elections.

Yakubu, Saraki and Dogara spoke in Abuja yesterday at a one-day public hearing on ‘Vote Buying and Improving Electoral Processes in Nigeria,” organised by the National Assembly Joint Committee on INEC.

Yakubu said from past elections conducted in the country, the electoral body had identified politicians as vote buyers and sellers through various forms, including inducement of prospective voters with naira notes sandwiched between two slices of bread.

“When I talk about sandwich we are not talking of bread but ways politicians induce voters by sandwiching naira notes in two slices of bread. I am talking of sandwich not as food but as tool used by politicians for voting exercise,” he said.

He identified other items used by politicians to further induce voters on election days to include branded food items, kitchen utensils, automobiles, clothing, and toiletries.

According to him, INEC on its part, does not sell or buy votes.

The INEC boss warned that vote buying should not be allowed to define Nigeria’s election, adding that such aberration is not acceptable.

“Vote buying is not acceptable; it must never be allowed to define our elections. It is illegal and morally wrong. It denies citizens quality representation and gives us bad name internationally,” he said, adding, “It does not give us a good representation.”

Noting that such development denies the citizens quality representation and gives the country a bad name before the international community, the INEC boss said rather than the public hearing, the National Assembly ought to have held a confessional hearing.

“We talk too much as a country. We should stop talking and move on as a nation. We need a confessional hearing rather than this. We should call the people and ask them how they do it. INEC does not buy or sell votes,” he said.

Yakubu called on the legislators to pass the Electoral Offences Tribunal Bill into law as recommended by Justice Muhammadu Uwais, Lemu and Ken Nnamani Electoral Reform Committees, adding that vote buying is not only a Nigerian issue, but has taken international phenomenon.

“The problem has been with us for a long while and it has become an international phenomenon. It is not just a Nigerian problem. In order to address this, we need to break the chain of voters’ inducement. We have so many instances, where aspirants induced electorate and candidates induced voters,” he said.

Yakubu further noted that the challenges behind vote buying are impunity and poverty, stressing that when voters are beginning to chase vote buyers, it becomes a serious problem.

He, however, called for synergy between INEC, security agencies and the lawmakers, for a solution to vote buying.

The INEC boss further displayed the strategies being put in place by the commission, using specimen presidential ballot paper, to defeat the antics of vote buyers in the coming general elections.

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