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Editorial News of Monday, 14 February 2022


FCT Poll: Go after electoral offenders - Situation Room tells EFCC, ICPC

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A civil rights movement, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to document evidence of any violation during the just-concluded Federal Capital Territory Area Council election and bring offenders to book.

The co-convener of NCSSR, James Ugochukwu, made this call in Abuja while presenting its findings on the election.

He regretted that the incidence of vote-buying appears to have become a staple in the country’s elections, with the FCT election not being an exception.

He said, “In some locations, votes were sold for between N1,000 and N2,000 per voter. Apart from the usual cash distribution, voter-buying reportedly took the form of digital transfers in some locations.

“This is FCT election and we are calling on the EFCC and the ICPC to repeat what they did in Ondo State by arresting many electoral offenders as possible.

“The EFCC and ICPC should go after all the electoral offenders in Nigeria to curtail the trend of commercialization of votes and all electoral malpractices.”

Also speaking, convener of situation room, Ene Obi, called on INEC to improve its logistic arrangements.

Obi said, “Many of the residents in the FCT were not aware of the elections until about two weeks to the elections. On election day particularly in the urban areas, voter turnout was very low.

“This may have been caused by several factors including the conflicting statements on restriction of movement and a lack of interest by the elite. Some residents also noted that they are registered to vote in their respective States and could not transfer to vote in the FCT just for the elections.

“Situation Room calls on INEC to carry out extensive voter education to raise awareness on the new polling units created in its Expansion of Access to Polling Units exercise in 2021, as well as the procedure for allotting voters to these new locations. INEC needs to also review the accessibility of polling units with registered voters who are PWDs, and also ensure the deployment of assistive materials to these locations.

“Political parties should also actively engage in voter mobilisation to address the trend of diminishing voter turnout. Parties and candidates are the beneficiaries of the votes and are not doing enough to canvass for these votes.

“Situation Room enjoins security agencies to continue to build on the gains they have recorded in in election security in recent times by remaining professional in their conducts in upcoming elections. Also, security officials should devise means of actively addressing vote buying during elections.

“Situation Room is specifically calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the electoral bill to raise the standard of elections in Nigeria, improve electoral environment and prevent further excuses or deficiency in the electoral and voting processes.”