Implement electoral laws, sanction parties to end vote-buying – JDPC to INEC
By Lawrence Nwimo
Faith-based humanitarian organization, Justice Development and Peace Caritas (JDPC), Onitsha, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider implementing electoral laws to end the rising incidences of vote buying in elections in the country.
The recommendation was part of the key resolutions of the JDPC Onitsha, in the report delivered on Anambra state gubernatorial election. The event took place on Wednesday in Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra.
The group decried as worrisome, the increased incidences of vote buying witnessed in 2021 Anambra governorship poll and noted that time had come to set up measures to tame the cankerworm, which, according to them, had permeated deep into the electoral process in the country.
According to the group, vote buying was massive and political parties were observed taking part in the practice. “Political stakeholders have continually increased their vote buying activities and this period from amounts ranging from N2,000 to N10,000.
“INEC should quickly implement the electoral laws against vote buying and sanction or suspend defaulting political parties found to engage in the practice.”
In the report signed by the JDPC Onitsha Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Edwin Udoye, there is need for a sustained intensity on voter education. JDPC also called on INEC to ensure it improves the functionality of the BVAS machine and introduce institutions to ensure proper training of ad-hoc staff instead of the routine 3 days training of officials considered ineffective for smooth conduct of elections.
It advised the electoral umpire to ensure it maintains total compliance to the stipulated election code of conduct, and stressed the import of sensitizing political agents on modalities of election day activities. The group further advocated for a registered transportation company to be made readily available at every point of conducting election to avert delays often witnessed on election days.
Orient Daily gathered that JDPC deployed no fewer than five hundred and fifty trained election observers and were stationed at various polling units to monitor the election day process and activities. Part of their findings included late arrival of INEC officials at polling units, delayed commencement of accreditation and voting across polling units and use of half baked ad-hoc officials for election, among others.
Pre-election fear, BVAS malfunction, low voters turnout, vote buying, citizens activism, snatching of election materials and disruption of electoral activities by hoodlums were equally captured as key challenges witnessed in the election.
While commending the electoral umpire, the group noted that the election was transparent, peaceful, free, fair and credible. They however, advised the Federal Government to toe the path of peace recorded in the Anambra state election to have a general election that is free of rancour in 2023 and other subsequent elections in the state.