The Chairman of Independent Electoral Commission Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Monday revealed that the apex electoral body would partner with security agencies in the country to arrest and prosecute any politicians who attempt to sway the electorate with money.
He used the opportunity to remind political merchants and their followers that elections are not business ventures aimed at making profits, but a civilized means of selecting credible leaders at the various tiers of government.
Prof Mahmood these disclosures at a one day sensitization summit in Abuja while stating INEC’s resolve to rid the nation’s electoral process of negative influence of money at the forth coming 2023 general elections.
He lamented the negative effects the activities of money bag politicians have over the outcome of elections in the country, stating also that such politicians are always desperate to compromise the will of the people at every election cycle.
The INEC Chairman also used the event to announce the commissions decision to ban Cameras, recording devices and videos within and around the voting cubicles by voters.
He lamented that some good spirited Nigerians have severally called on the commission to make enquires about what the commission has been doing to curtail negative influence of money before, during and after elections.
He noted that over the years, INEC has been engaging in several systematic procedures aimed at improving the electoral system in Nigeria while also calling for all necessary support to enable the commission succeed.
He commended all critical stakeholders for their support to the commission and reiterated his readiness to ensure that BVAS as well as other time tested technologies shall be deployed for next year’s general election.
He called on Nigerians to support the commission as well as stand against all negative traits like vote buying inorder to create atmosphere for a transparent, free, fair and credible elections.
The INEC boss also challenged Nigerians, Civil Society Organisations and NGOs, to make it their priority by reporting all negative use of money by politicians and political parties to the commission as well as security agencies.
He challenged religious leaders, traditional leaders and indeed all good spirited citizens to join hands in the fight against wrong use of money in politics either before, during and after elections.
The INEC boss also used the occasion to pledge his readiness and commitment to leave a legacy of delivering the freest and most transparent election to Nigerians in 2023.
He observed that the task of conducting credible and transparent election in the country is not going to be easy but that the commission will not relent in her determination to succeed.
He explained that BVAS and other technologies as well as public display of result sheets shortly after elections in Nigeria has come to stay.
The Inspector General of Police ,IGP, Usman Alkali Baba represented at the event by AIG Operations, Baba Chiroma assured of the police readiness to ensure that money politics is reduced in Nigeria.
He disclosed that some people arrested in some states of the federation engaging in vote buying or negative use of money have been arraigned in courts of competent jurisdictions.
The Director General, NBC, Balarabe Ilelah in his address appealed to broadcast stations across the country to play by the rules and desist from providing platform for politicians to tear down their opponents.
He threatened that NBC will sanction stations that violate broadcast codes adding that avoidance of such politicians and their campaign of calumny could help to ensure free and fair elections in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC boss Abdulraseed Bawa who was represented by his Chief of staff, uged Nigerians at all levels to reject money bags politicians noting that those who sell out their votes cannot demand for democratic dividends from their leaders.
Bawa further assured that his agency is committed to ensuring a free fair and transparent election in the country through a pre-emptive action.
He disclosed that his agency will achieve this through intelligence gathering and laying of surveillance in each polling unit before and during elections where perpetrators of money politics can be promptly arrested and prosecuted.
The measures, according to EFCC Chairman is to pay close attention to some money bag politicians a measure that led to the arrest of some voters with money in the recently concluded Ekiti and Osun guber elections.
According to the EFCC Chairman, some politicians arrested for trying to induce voters in the recently concluded primary elections across the country are presently facing prosecution at several court of competent jurisdictions and this will serve as deterrent to would be money inducers at the forthcoming general elections.