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Civil societies fault INEC on failure to curb vote-buying, others

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By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has got thumps-down for its inability to curb vote buying during last Saturday’s Edo governorship election.

A coalition of over 60 civil society organisations, under the aegis of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (NCSR) noted in its interim report on the Edo election that although INEC improved on its past performances,  it was not yet celebration time.

NCSR observed: “The incidence of vote buying during this election was high. It called for a more effective enforcement of election laws that prohibit vote buying and other election offences.”

Presenting the report in Abuja yesterday, NCSR convener Clement Nwankwo noted that “although INEC deserves commendation for ensuring an appreciable improvement in the conduct of election in the country, it needs to improve on its performance in subsequent elections”.

Nwankwo added:  “The administration of the Edo State governorship election appears to have been a marked improvement on recent previous governorship elections. INEC’s processes appeared to operate smoothly.

“Situation Room observed delay in the opening of polls in most polling units, although this did not affect voting thereafter.  There was early deployment of materials and officials across several polling units in the state.

“There were however reports of late commencement of voting in some polling units owing to late arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“In some cases, this was due to late arrival of security agents at Registration Area Centres (RACs) to escort election officials and materials to polling units, majorly in Edo South Senatorial District.

“INEC introduced the use of a Result Viewing Portal to upload polling unit results. This was a commendable action on the part of INEC and Situation Room commends it in its effort at transparency in the electoral process.”

“However, a significant amount of results were yet to be uploaded, even at the time of collation, raising fears of possible political interference at some polling points.”

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