The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)has said the problem of vote buying and selling will fester unless the buyers and their sponsors are arrested and prosecuted by security agencies.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated this in Abuja on Saturday while speaking on the commission’s preparedness to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the country in 2019.
Yakubu said a challenge was that INEC lacked the power to solely investigate and prosecute vote buyers, adding that this was why the commission had partnered with the police and other security and anti-graft agencies to arrest anybody caught engaging in the act.
The INEC chairman said the highest record of prosecution by the commission was in a constituency in Kano State in 2016, where the agency had successfully prosecuted 40 electoral offenders given various penalties in accordance with the law.
Yakubu said, “Some of the infractions take place as the voters move from the voting cubicles to the ballot boxes. Honestly, some of the agents of the vote buyers are among agents of political parties.