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Jega, others seek trial of vote buyers

Mr Success

Prominent election stakeholders on Monday participated at a forum seeking significant reforms of the electoral process that recommended the criminalisation of vote buying and selling as well as delegate inducements with strict enforcement of penalties.

They made the recommendation during the 6th technical session of Trusted Elections Fund held via Zoom with the theme, “Reflection on post-political party primaries electoral environment: Scenario planning.”

According to them, such perpetrators should be prosecuted through the joint efforts of relevant agencies such as the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The participants also recommended enforcement of the Electoral Act 2022, regulations of INEC and guidelines to ensure fairness and equity.

The discussant included a former chairman INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega; a former INEC National Commissioner, Amina Zakari; Electoral Forum Chairman, Prof. Bayo Olukoshi; INEC  former National Commissioner, Prof. Anthonia Simbine; The PUNCH’s former Business Editor, Dr. Everest Amaefule and Okechukwu Ndeche.

According to a statement by Olukoshi on Monday, the meeting held in conjunction with Open Society Initiative for West Africa, focused on the conduct of political party primaries, the emergence of candidates for the 2023 election, and the recent Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections.

The statement partly read, “Vote buying and selling as well as delegate inducements should be criminalised with strict enforcement of penalties through collaborative efforts amongst relevant agencies including Police, EFCC, ICPC, and INEC.

“Further amendment of the Electoral Act is required in some key areas, including the delegate selection process to ensure the quality of delegates, and address vote buying and selling, amongst others.”

The stakeholders also expressed concerns about the integrity and survival of our democratic system and agreed that the Electoral Act 2022 requires a further amendment to safeguard the process.

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