INEC Holds Stakeholders' Summit on Influence of Money in 2023 Elections

By Paschal Emeka, Abuja

The independent Electoral Commission (INEC) at a one-day sensitization summit reiterated its determination to rid the nation’s electoral process of the negative influence of money

Speaking during the event in Abuja on Monday in Abuja, the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, explained that the stakeholder’s summit is necessary as it was aimed at addressing the negative influence of money on the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

Prof Yakubu while lamenting the negative effects of the activities of money bags politicians in the country, observed that such politicians are always desperate to compromise the will of the people during every election cycle.

INEC’s boss further informed that INEC is partnering with all security agencies in the country to address and arrest cases of money politics in the country.

The Chairman further reiterated the Commission’s readiness to leave no stone unturned to ensure that money would not be used to subvert the will of the people in the 2023 elections.

He used the opportunity to remind political merchants and their followers that elections are not business ventures aimed at making profits, but a civilized means of selecting credible leaders at the various tiers of government.

INEC Chairman also used the event to announce the commission’s decision to ban Cameras, recording devices, and videos within and around the voting cubicles by voters.

He lamented that some good-spirited Nigerians have severally called on the commission to make inquiries about what the commission has been doing to curtail the negative influence of money before, during, and after elections.

He noted that over the years, INEC has been engaging in several systematic procedures aimed at improving electoral administration in Nigeria, calling for all necessary support to enable the commission to succeed.

While commending all critical stakeholders for their support to his commission, he reiterated his readiness to ensure that BVAS as well as other time-tested technologies shall be deployed for next year’s general election.

He called on Nigerians to support the commission as well as stand against all negative traits like vote buying to create an atmosphere for a transparent, free, fair, and credible election.

INEC boss also challenged Nigerians, Civil Society Organisations, and NGOs, to make it their priority by reporting all negative use of money by politicians and political parties to the commission as well as security agencies.

Prof Yakubu equally challenged religious leaders, traditional leaders, and indeed all good-spirited citizens to join hands in the fight against the wrong use of money in politics either before, during, or after elections.

The INEC boss also used the occasion to pledge his readiness and commitment to leave a legacy of the freest and most transparent election to Nigerians in 2023.

He observed that the task of conducting credible and transparent elections in the country is not going to be easy but that the commission will not relent in her determination to succeed.

He reemphasized that BVAS and other technologies as well as the public display of result sheets shortly after elections in Nigeria has come to stay.

On the negative influence of money before, during, and after elections, the chairman expressed the hope that such a negative tendency might become history shortly after the summit.

The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba represented at the event by AIG Operations, Baba Chiroma assured of the police readiness to ensure that money politics is reduced in Nigeria.

He disclosed that some people arrested in some states of the federation engaging in vote buying or negative use of money have been arraigned in courts of competent jurisdictions.

The Director General, of NBC, Balarabe Ilelah in his address appealed to broadcast stations across the country to play by the rules and desist from providing a platform for politicians to tear down their opponents.

NBC boss threatened to sanction stations that violate broadcast codes adding that avoidance of such politicians and their campaign of calumny could help to ensure free and fair elections in Nigeria.

In his remarks, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, Abdulraseed Bawa who was represented by his Chief of staff, urged Nigerians at all levels to reject money bags politicians noting that those who sell out their votes cannot demand democratic dividends from their leaders.

EFCC chairman further disclosed his agency’s commitment to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections in the country by being preventive in their approach.

He also disclosed that through intelligence gathering, and laying of surveillance in each polling unit before and during elections, perpetrators of money politics can be promptly arrested and prosecuted.

The measures, according to EFCC Chairman to pay close attention to some money bag politicians, a measure that led to the arrest of some voters with money in the recently concluded Ekiti and Osun guber elections and was prosecuted.

The Chairman of EFCC further informed that some politicians arrested for trying to induce voters in the recently concluded primary elections in the country are presently facing prosecution at several courts of competent jurisdictions.

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