20 September 2018

Nigeria: Vote-Buying, Violence Threats to Democracy, Says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that vote-buying can give birth to election violence, which is a threat to the growth of democracy in Nigeria.

The Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Kassim Gaidam, who stated this yesterday at a workshop organised by the International Republican Institute (IRI) in corroboration with USAID, said that vote-buying had constituted a huge threat to free and fair election, which is the main target of the commission.

Gaidam, represented by the Director, Public Enlightenment, Mrs. Rifkatu Maxell Duku, said to fight the menace, the commission is engaging the youths being used as tools for election violence.

The IRI Resident Programme Director, Mr. Sentell Barnes, while declaring the workshop titled "Consensus Building on Election Violence Mitigation" open, said election violence is a scourge that has the capacity to destroy the democratic tenets of the country.

In a related vein, INEC National Commissioner and Chair, Legal Services Committee, Mrs. May Agbamuche-Mbu, has commended the proposed establishment of the election offences prosecution commission, which bill, had already passed second reading at the National Assembly to free INEC from the burden of prosecuting electoral offenders.

Agbamuche-Mbu, who spoke while presenting a keynote address at the fifth edition of the training of INEC legal officers and police officers on the prosecution of electoral offenders organised with the support of ECES, said prosecuting electoral offenders had become a burden on the commission.

Meanwhile, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has said that the unwholesome activities of corrupt public office holders caused under-development of the country.It, therefore, warned the political class to eschew activities of corrupt practices as the 2019 general elections approach.

Executive Director, ANEEJ, Rev. David Ugolor, represented by the Chief of Staff, ANEEJ, Mr. Kola Giwa, gave the warning yesterday during a public lecture organised by ANEEJ Anti-Corruption Study Centre in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

Also, Prof. Eddy Erhagbe of the Department of History and International Studies, University of Benin, said the failure of successive governments to deliver on electoral promises, wanton looting of public funds, bribery and manipulation of the system as well as massive and monumental corruption by political office holders are the bane of nation-building, which according to him, retard economic development.

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