From Anambra to Ekiti to Kogi, recent elections in the country have been marred by vote buying incidents, where petty cash is given to voters by politicians in exchange for votes on election day.
After last month’s governorship election in Ekiti, several election observers reported that the legitimacy of the poll was undermined by vote buying incidents. Even INEC expressed concern over the rising incidences of vote buying after that election.
What is the solution?
INEC has consistently said that the solution to the problem is for security agencies to arrest offenders. But this is hardly seen as a sustainable solution since security officials are often complicit.
Now the Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of Anambra, Dr. Nkwachukwu Orji, is saying that INEC is considering a different approach. He said polling booths are to be positioned in such a way that it would be difficult for the agents to see how voters cast their votes.
“The commission is considering re-arranging the way polling booths are positioned during elections to make it difficult for anybody to see the place a voter voted,’’ Orji said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Usually, agents of politicians stay close to the polling booths while voters show them their ballots to confirm who they voted for, before collecting their bribes.
A collective effort
Orji however said that the solution must be a collective one and not for INEC alone.
“INEC cannot check the problem of vote buying alone. It is a crime that security agents, members of the public who collect the money and politicians who buy the votes must come together to tackle,” he said.