- The Nigeria Police Force has been urged to track and arrest politicians involved in vote buying ahead of the 2019 general elections
- This was the position of an election expert and Executive Director of OJA Development Consult, Jide Ojo
- Ojo made the call at a two-day training for personnel of the Nigeria Police Force on election security and vote buying
An election expert, Mr Jide Ojo, on Friday, February 1, urged the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to track and arrest politicians involved in vote buying ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Ojo, Who is the Executive Director of OJA Development Consult, made the call at a two-day training for personnel of the Nigeria Police Force on election security and vote buying held in Abuja.
Legit.ng gathered that the training was organised by ANS Consulting Limited in collaboration with the NPF to sensitize officers and men of the police on what constitute vote buying and how they can help curb the menace especially as the 2019 election approaches.
Ojo urged the participants to work with other stakeholders to ensure that vote buying is curbed in the forthcoming elections, adding that vote buyers are discrediting Nigeria's elections and turning them into bazaar.
“Voters need to know that the token being given to them in exchange for their votes is the opportunity cost of the social infrastructure they are perpetually denied by our political leaders.
“Thus, while politicians are in the rat race to recover their election expenses, developmental projects are perpetually kept in view,” he said.
He continued: “Security agents should track and arrest politicians involved in vote-buying through sting operation.
“Anyone apprehended should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted in order to serve as a deterrent to others.”
He also advocated for the quick passage of the bill establishing National Electoral Offences Commission (NEOC) is needful.
“NEOC when established should be well resourced to perform its statutory functions of arresting, investigating and prosecuting electoral offenders,” he added.
On his part, another resource person at the event, Barrister Patrick Enyenting said the commercialization of politics in Nigeria has enabled the political investors to determine, dictate and control the socio-economic and political affairs of the country.
His words: “Money politics has replaced the politics of ideology and creativity to the extent that political parties and candidates no longer bother to outline manifestoes, while vying for elective post, hence it is difficult to hold them accountable for their promises to deliver good governance to the people.
“The culture of impunity which has undermined the rule of law, has emboldened the political class and their agents. Payments are now made through the agents either directly by distributing money inside envelops from house to house or sometimes at the pooling centres or through phone transfer.
“Vote buying has led to the monitoring of votes by the officials of the parties, in a bid to ensure that voters who benefited from the act, votes in favour of their benefactors.”
Participants at the event includes heads of commands, personnel of police public relations unit, investigation, operations among others.
YIAGA Africa under its Watching The Vote (WTV) project has concluded plans to train at least 3,030 citizen observers who will be deployed to randomly selected polling units to observe the polls.
Speaking during the refresher training of trainers during the week, WTV project director, Cynthia Mbamalu said the training of citizen observers will commence on Tuesday, February 5 and run through Saturday, February 9 in 149 centres across all 36 states in Nigeria.
According to her, the team have a total number of 42 master trainers who were with the team during the governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun, 48 state focal points and 15 team members who will be deployed to training centers across Nigeria.
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