The Executive Director of Centre For Transparency Advocacy CTA, Madam Faith Nwadishi had urges Bayelsa Politicians and electorates to shun vote buying and other election misconduct in the forthcoming Governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The CTA Executive Director Who was represented by MacDonald Ekemezie at the Stakeholder’s Roundtable in Bayelsa said citizens choices must not be subverted by use of money to influence votes or purchase of PVCs.
She warned the politicians to do away with vote buying and urges electorate not to sell their votes as such act can hamper development in the state.
She said it’s obvious that presence of EFCC and other law enforcement agency at polling units on Election Day has not prevented vote buying. Urges CBN to usually alert anti-graft agencies to track illicit money during the election.
She said “We recognize clearly that the symbolic presence of law enforcement agents at polling units on election has not deterred vote buying. It is therefore, important that a more result-oriented method like covert operations be adopted to curb this menace. An early warning flagging by the Central Bank and Commercial institutions will as well alert anti-graft agencies to track illicit money intended to usurp the wills of the people through rigging of elections induced by money”.
However, Nwadishi described security as a critical aspect of the electoral process that requires attention during the entire electoral process. Saying INEC has recently raised an alarm and fears indicating that is insecurity may pose a great challenge to the Governorship election.
“Citizens too have had cause to worry over the issue of insecurity in the state and if this is unchecked may discourage citizens from coming out to exercise their franchise on election day”.
We expect better synergy between the police, the lead security agency on election security and other members of the inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCESS) with stakeholders on election. At least this will go a long way to instil confidence in the people prior, during election day and after election”.
She said one of the greatest challenges faced by INEC on election days is the movement of personnel and materials. Saying this has hampered operations, leading to delay in commencement of elections. “Therefore, we appeal to the Unions to keep an eye on their members to ensure that when they take personnel and materials to designated locations, they also bring them back at the end of the elections. We implored the Maritime Union to ensure that personnel and materials are moved to the riverine areas without encumbrances”.
On his part, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in bayelsa State, Obo Effanga said, INEC is committed and prepared for credible and successful governorship election in Bayelsa State.
“INEC is prepared for this election, we will do all we could to ensure that the election is successful, the only way anybody can win this election, is to get voters voting for them, therefore the political parties and candidates should be campaign now.
“We promised to do our best to ensure that this election is credible.” He said.
He said, INEC will deploy BIVAS in all the polling units, disclosing that out of the 1,056 862 total registered voters in the state, 566,755 are male while 490,767 are female.
Also speaking, the chairman of Maritime Union in bayelsa State, comrade, Ogoniba Ipigansi said, they are fully ready and that the union has prepared and service ready 1005 boats for the exercise.
Other participants that pledge their readiness and commitment includes the Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Correctional Service, National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp.