The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has identified vote-buying and insecurity as some of the major concerns ahead of the July 16 governorship election in Osun State.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Saturday in Abuja at high-level security and other stakeholders meeting on INEC’s preparedness for the election.
He, however, said that the commission has plans to ensure the success of the election.
The meeting which was also tagged inter-agency consultative committee was attended by heads of various security agencies as well as the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and the Commissioner of Police, Osun State.
Yakubu said that the synergy between the commission and the security agencies on the one hand, and among the security agencies on the other, ensured seamless coordination of efforts resulting in the widely acclaimed success of the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti State.
He noted that while the Ekiti State election did not spill over to the second day as happened with past elections in Nigeria and ballot box snatching and destruction of voting exercises were not recorded, vote-buying was rife thus the need to address this challenge.
He also promised to build on the success of the Ekiti experience to ensure improved performance in subsequent elections, including the 2023 General Election.
Yakubu said the next two weeks will be devoted to the Osun election as one of the series of off-season elections.
He said that the commission will observe the mock accreditation of voters in some Polling Units (PUs) across the three Senatorial Districts of the state to test the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
While noting that the atmosphere was generally calm at the moment, the INEC boss said the commission was nevertheless concerned about reports of clashes in some places.
He said, “In one recent example, the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) was disrupted in Erin Oke and Erin Ijesha Wards of Oriade Local Government Area resulting in the loss of 46 PVCs.
“While the matter is being investigated by the police, the collection of PVCs for the affected Wards is now taking place in the INEC office in Ijebu-Jesha.”
He said the state office has compiled the Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of the cards and the Commission had already reprinted the PVCs for the affected voters.
He assured all valid registrants in Osun State that no one will be disenfranchised on account of such an incident.
He said the commission is working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ensure the prosecution of persons arrested in the recent Ekiti governorship election. Action will commence as soon as the EFCC completes its investigation. I appeal to all security agencies to continue to join hands with the Commission to tackle this menace.”
He also reassured all Nigerians who applied for Certified True Copies (CTCs) of documents arising from the recent party congresses, primaries and nomination of candidates that all requests are being attended to expeditiously despite the huge quantities of documents involved.