CTA condemns vote-buying, others in Imo, Kogi, Bayelsa, lauds INEC

A popular election monitoring group, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), has decried the trend of vote buying in Nigeria’s electoral process, even as it condemned the practice in the recently held off cycle polls in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa states.

According to CTA, vote buying has solidified into a crime that involves the majority of political parties and their operatives. 

Executive Director of CTA, Faith Nwadishi in a final report detailing its observations in the recent off cycle elections, alleged that vote buying and selling were rampant, with the main parties using inventive vote-buying plans and strategies to elude law enforcement, lamenting that the three states of Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi were all part of this unpleasant trend.  

The Group said the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, Nigerians, and other interested parties must devise strategies to deal with this unpleasant occurrence. 

“It is imperative that political parties acknowledge that incentivizing vote buying is illegal, and that security authorities hold party officials accountable for the vote-buying actions of their agents,” Faith noted in its report.

The Group also regretted the unruly behaviour of the political elites, saying they remain the most vulnerable component in our endeavor to introduce electoral changes. 

According to CTA, there are still inclinations by the political elites to use violence and coercion to influence the elwctoral process.  

She, however, suggested that making the Peace Accord, which is typically signed by parties or candidates as a formality, subject to legal proceedings must be reviewed to become a treaty which must be used to compel contestants and parties to swear to an affidavit.

“We noted improvement with general conduct of the elections by INEC in the three states. We hope that the peaceful atmosphere witnessed  will be sustained as we look forward to Edo and Ondo States Governorship Elections in 2024.

“Citizens are enjoined to take advantage of the newly created polling units and transfer to vote in less congested polling units in future elections.  

Political parties should tutor their agents on proper conduct at polling units and collation centres. Equally, they should be abreast of INEC Election Guidelines and the Electoral Act. 

“Political parties should at all times mobilize voters instead of waiting to buy votes on election day. This could also reduce voter apathy as witnessed in these elections.     

“Security agencies should also be well-versed in the functions of election observers.”