The Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) in Bauchi State has urged security agencies. anti graft bodies and media to support INEC in tackling the problem of vote-buying ahead of the 2019 elections.
Alhaji Musa Mato the IPAC Secretary in the state, made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bauchi on Tuesday.
He described the challenge of vote buying as worrisome, and said the Economic Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, security agencies and media should team up to expose politicians engaged in the act.
He added that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also require the support of all well meaning Nigerians to end the practice that has compromised the sanctity of the electoral process.
“Apart from the cash inducement, some politicians influence voters with gift items such as television set, phones, foodstuffs, recharge cards among others,” he said.
According to him, vote buying undermines the electoral process, poses serious threat to democracy and credibility of elections.
“Vote buying is earning a bad reputation for our democracy, for our elections and the future of the county.
“So it has become necessary for stakeholders such as EFCC, ICPC, security agencies and media to support INEC in fighting the challenge.
” Other stakeholders including political parties, civil society organisations and the citizens should also get involved to overcome the problem,” Mato said.
He said “It becomes necessary for us to come together to address this illegality.
“Some of the ugly trend take place at polling units and outside polling units on election day, and some even before elections through electronic cash transfer.”
The IPAC secretary said those involved must be arrested, investigated and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others, and “to avoid money-bags determining our democracy.
“We want the votes of the people to determine who wins in our elections.”
Mato stressed that the campaign to stop vote-buying must be collective and sustained to sanitise the electoral process.
The IPAC secretary backed INEC for placing ban on the use of handsets in polling booths as part of measures to limit vote-buying.(NAN)