We have uncovered plot by politicians to buy votes in coming elections – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that it has uncovered plans by some politicians to use food vendors around polling units for vote-buying in the forthcoming general elections.

The chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this when he received a delegation European Union (EU) observation team, led by chief observer, Maria Arena, on a visit to INEC on Monday, January 21, in Abuja, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Yakubu told the EU delegation that political actors planned to use food vendors around polling units with large voter populations as collection points for cash-for-votes as well as other forms of material inducement to voters on election day.

He said the electoral body had uncovered the trick, noting that the plan will not work.

The INEC boss said the electoral commission was determined to improve elections and ensure that votes are counted. He said commission had taken steps to address the disturbing trend of vote-buying by politicians.

Yakubu stated that the steps taken to check vote buying included modification of the administration of polling units to make it difficult for voters to expose their marked ballot papers on day of election.

He said that the commission had also introduced partial ban on the use of mobile phones and other electronic devices by voters while in the voting cubicles.

“We are also introducing the rolling and flattening of ballot papers by voters on day of election,” Yakubu said.

“We are training our election duty staff, in addition to voter education and sensitization, on this new innovation. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the sanctity of the ballot.

In a related report, the federal government has assured the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) deployed to monitor the forthcoming general elections that the exercise would be free, fair and credible.

The foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, gave the assurance on Monday, January 21, when the chief observer EU EOM to Nigeria for the 2019 general elections, Maria Arena, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

Onyeama said President Muhammadu Buhari would cooperate with the observers and would not let the international community down in the conduct of the elections.

He said Buhari had at different international fora given his words that he would do everything within his power to ensure free, fair and credible elections in the country.

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