•Partners EFCC to checkmate politicians
•Corruption causes cancer, says Magu
James Ojo, Abuja
National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakub, has said politicians’ proclivity for vote buying could mar the 2019 general elections.
To stem vote buying, the INEC chairman has solicited the cooperation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to help protect the country’s democracy.
“As we are approaching the 2019 general elections, INEC needs the support and collaboration of EFCC, to check open vote buying at polling stations. This development, which we observed in elections that we have conducted after the 2015 general elections, is giving the commission serious worry,” Yakubu told acting EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, who paid a courtesy call on him, yesterday.
Professor Yakub said it is the intention of the country’s electoral umpire not to tolerate open vote buying, and called on EFCC to come to the commission’s aid.
“Our democracy is on sale in an open market, INEC is worried. We have observed this, in the series of elections we have conducted recently and thus, must stop. Open vote buying will not be tolerated during the 2019 elections.
“We don’t want the outcome of the 2019 elections to be determined by the amount of money some people can deploy on election day for the polling booths. Our democracy will be in jeopardy and the choice of the people will be mortgaged,” he told Magu.
ON his part, the INEC chairman also wanted the EFCC to collaborate with the commission on the need to curb spending for elections above what the electoral laws stipulate, and noted that the commission lacks the capacity to monitor flow of money into the system.
“We need to work closely with EFCC to achieve this. If we get our electoral system right, we will get our democracy right and we will be on the path to addressing the myriads of problems facing the country.
“It will also help EFCC; chase most of the big corruption cases related to our electoral system,” he urged Magu.
Professor Yakub said the commission will not work for any candidate or political parties to win, but will work for Nigerians to ensure that their votes count, in the choice of political leaders.
Arising from the 2015 elections, the INEC boss disclosed that 205 members of the commission were interdicted and that 7,330 workers have been promoted.
Magu had earlier assured INEC of a review of what the anti-graft agency had done with a report of the 2015 elections, and assured that corruption in the electoral process will not escape the scrutiny of the agency.
He charged eligible Nigerians to register and vote in the 2019 elections which, he noted, is another means of fighting corruption.
“Corruption is affecting everyone of us. Some have run out of the country, thinking they will escape from the fight against corruption. Corruption is evil, it is the source of all the problems affecting the country, it is cancer and this is why we must fight it to the last,” he vowed.