A civil society organization, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to probe votes buying and foodstuffs sharing during the Ekiti election.
In a letter signed by the Deputy Director of SERAP, Kolawole Oluwadare, and addressed to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the organization said the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) were involved in financial inducement of voters across the state.
The SERAP issued a one-week ultimatum to the INEC to commence probe of culprits, threatening to take legal action if nothing is done within the period.
The letter read: “We want the electoral umpire to gather information about vote-buying, undue influence, intimidation, and ballot box snatching, among others.
“We also advise the INEC to prosecute those arrested and bring to justice anyone who sponsored, aided and abetted them. Wealthy candidates and their sponsors ought not to be allowed to profit from their crimes.
“Impunity during elections is widely prevalent in Nigeria and the perpetrators are rarely brought to justice. If voting is as important as the INEC always claims it is, now is the time to end the buying of democracy by wealthy politicians and their sponsors.
“Agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) were reportedly involved in buying votes across the state.
“According to reports, agents of the three parties in Ward 007, PU 001, Ado LGA offered voters as high as N10,000 in exchange for their votes.
“There are also several reports of ballot box snatching, including in polling units with codes 13/05/06/005 and 007 in Ilawe Ward IV, near St. Patrick’s School.
“In several units, political party agents clustered around the voting cubicle to see how voters marked their ballot papers. We want the INEC to know that bribery and other offences undermine its ability to discharge its responsibilities under Section 153 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act 2022.”