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2019: INEC urges security agencies to combat vote buying



INDEPENDENT National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged the security agencies of Nigeria attached to polling units to help fight the menace of vote buying during the 2019 general elections.
The plea was made by the INEC, Electoral officer (EO), Idemili South,  Anthony Onwuasoanya, during a voters education seminar organized recently by National Orientation Agency (NOA), for community stakeholders at the council headquarter, Ojoto.
Onwuasoanya lamented that vote buying, which was the use of money or material things to lure voters to vote a particular candidate other than the voter’s conscientious choice has threatened democracy.
He urged the security agencies like the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps attached to polling booths during elections to arrest vote buyers for prosecution.
Onwuasoanya said that if such persons and their sponsors were found guilty and jailed, it would serve as a deterrent to others irrespective of their social status.
“The result is that at the end of election, not the popular candidate wins but the person who had more money to share. The person elected owes no allegiance to the electorate”, said Onwuasoanya.
Moreover, Onwuasoanya asked the stakeholders to dissuade their youths from engaging in electoral violence and thuggery adding that politicians send their children abroad and deceive other youths into fighting for their personal ambition.
Earlier in her address, the NOA Community Mobilization Officer, Monica Azodo, educated the stakeholders on proper ways of thumb printing a ballot paper to minimize void votes.
Mrs Azodo reminded the participants that ballot papers cost lots of money to produce, saying that utmost care should be given while handling such sensitive electoral material.
“Vote the right way! Vote your conscience. Please, enough of void votes, make every vote count. There is need for voters to vote correctly”, said Azodo.
She told them to identify the political party or candidate of their choice, saying that one should not vote two parties or candidates on a ballot paper.
Reacting to the voter education, a stake holder from Alor, Obi Mba, thanked INEC and NOA for such a sensitization seminar pleading with them to guard against result buying.
“Often times, people blame the voters for vote buying but even when we do our best to vote our conscience, during the collation of the results, the highest bidder seems to buy the results and the announcement we hear doesn’t represent our votes,” said Mba.

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