British Commission worries over vote buying, selling in Ekiti poll, seeks probe

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The British High Commission, yesterday, expressed concern over reports of vote buying during Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State.

Stressing that the development has no place in a democracy, it called on authorities to investigate and bring perpetrators to justice.

The Commission, however, commended “improvements in the electoral process including the timely opening of polls, better functioning of the Biometric Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) devices for accrediting voters, and the transparent and efficient electronic transmission of polling unit results to INEC’s results viewing portal.”

A statement signed by the Commission’s Press and Public Affairs Officer, Ndidiamaka Eze, reads: “We congratulate the people of Ekiti State for their peaceful and democratic participation in the governorship election that was held on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

“As the first major election conducted since the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022, we commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, our civil society partners and all stakeholders for their collective effort in the successful conduct of the poll under the new legal framework.

“Our team of observers on the ground noted commendable improvements in the electoral process including the timely opening of polls, better functioning of the Biometric Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) devices for accrediting voters, and the transparent and efficient electronic transmission of polling unit results to INEC’s results viewing portal.

“We are concerned about reports of vote buying during the election and call on the relevant authorities to hold any persons involved accountable. The buying and selling of votes has no place in a democracy.

“We encourage INEC to reflect on other potential improvements to the electoral process ahead of general elections in 2023, especially the re-distribution and assignment of voters to newly established polling units to reduce queuing times, better awareness and implementation of electoral guidelines by INEC staff and improved accessibility at polling units to help with the participation of persons with disabilities.

“We urge any party or individual who is dissatisfied with the process to seek redress in a peaceful manner and through the appropriate legal channels.

“As Nigeria moves closer to the 2023 general elections, we encourage people to register and collect their Permanent Voter Cards and participate actively in the political process.

“The UK will continue to assist INEC and our partners in their aspiration to support peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Nigeria.”

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