INEC: We’re Partnering EFCC, ICPC to Tackle Vote Buying

•Says president has done everything for a credible, peaceful poll

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it was already partnering the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Matters Commission (ICPC) to ensure that the issue of vote buying didnot play in the forthcoming general election.

Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in Rivers State, Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, who disclosed this yesterday in Port Harcourt, during the opening ceremony of the 2023 Correspondents’ Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), noted that vote buying had eaten deep in the Nigerian system.

Represented by Mark Usulo, Head, Voter Education and Publicity, Sinikiem, who said INEC has also sensitize youths in various villages in the country to monitor and report anyone involved in the act of vote buying during the elections, added that President Muhammadu Buhari had done everything possible to ensure peaceful and credible elections.

Speaking on the theme, “Media Vigilance Ahead of Peaceful 2023 Election in Rivers State”, the INEC boss in Rivers, noted that in the new Electoral Act, anyone found with a permanent voter’s card (PVC) that did not belong to him or her, risked a jail term.

He said the security agencies, especially, the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) had been briefed to watch out for people in possession of PVCs that were not theirs.

“When we talk about peaceful election in Rivers, INEC will work in synergy with critical stakeholders in the state, including the media. This time, we are not going to experience any act of hijacking of ballot boxes at polling units.

“We have collaborated with EFCC and ICPC, in case of vote buying, which is eating deep in the society. We have sensitised people even in the  rural areas, to track any form of manipulation to rig or vote buying,” he said.

Sinikiem, however, lauded President Buhari for endorsing the New Electoral Act, saying, “President Buhari has done all he could to ensure we have a free, fair and credible elections by signing the electoral act.”

The REC, who called on the media to ensure accurate reportage of INEC activities before, during and after the elections, assured the people that the electoral body would ensure free, fair, credible and violence-free election.

In his remarks, Dr. Jossy Nkwocha, charged the media and Nigerian journalists to be patriotic in the reportage of the forthcoming elections in the country.

Nkwocha, a veteran journalists and Head, Corporate Communications, Indorama-Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, called on journalists to be careful about spreading fake news from various interest groups, saying there was need to check sources of information before going ahead to use such stories.

Earlier, in his address, the chapel chairman, Amaechi Okonkwo called for a peaceful election in the state, adding that the relevant stakeholders should ensure the safety of journalists in the field for their professional duties.

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