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2023: INEC in double speak, vows to prosecute buyers, sellers of voter cards



The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday vowed to prosecute anybody caught buying or selling voter cards ahead of the 2023 general elections.

In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Commission said the elections would be different from previous ones.

This development was contrary to the earlier stance of the commission on prosecution of electoral offenders.

INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, had during a one-day interactive session with line editors in Lagos, explained the inability of the commission to prosecute electoral offenders.

Yakubu had blamed the National Assembly for its failure to pass the National Electoral Offences Commission Bill, 2022.

He urged the National Assembly to pass the Bill into law in order to ensure effective electoral process, but the said bill has not been passed.

However, Oyakanmi in his statement on Tuesday said the commission will disappoint and prosecute anyone caught in the illegal act.

He advised politicians to caution their supporters against violating electoral laws.

The statement read: “The 2023 general election will not be business as usual. If there are politicians out there still going about purchasing PVCs to use pseudo-voters on election day, they will not only be disappointed but arrested and prosecuted.

READ ALSO:2023: 205,127 PVCs uncollected in Ekiti – INEC

“Supporters of the competing presidential candidates for the 2023 general elections will help their respective candidates better if they spend the next two months before the polls to rigorously convince and mobilise registered voters across the length and breadth of Nigeria to vote for their preferred candidates than to continue smearing the reputation of the Independent National Electoral Commission with baseless conspiracy theories. It will not work.

“The commission is not a political party; INEC does not have a preferred candidate. We have been preparing for the 2023 polls since the conclusion of the 2019 general elections, perfecting existing tools and introducing other innovations. These innovations are designed to ensure the integrity of the process and make it impossible for any politician or INEC Staff to compromise an election in favour of any candidate.

“To engender transparency, the Commission introduced the INEC Result Viewing Portal in 2020, where individual polling unit results are uploaded on election day. We used the portal for the Edo, Ondo, Ekiti Osun, and Anambra off-season governorship elections.

“At the end of voting on election day, after the ballots have been counted and results announced, the Presiding Officer will take a picture of the result sheet – Form EC8A – and upload the same to the IReV portal before departing to the collation centre. Party agents and voters will witness this activity that is backed by law.

“So, for this 2023 election, it is one genuine voter, one vote. No PVC, no voting. No accreditation by BVAS, not voting. If you try to cause trouble at the polling unit because the BVAS rejects your fingerprint and face, the security agents around will arrest and prosecute you, according to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.”

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