The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission in collaboration with security agents will do everything to prevent vote buying during the September 22 governorship election in the state.
The REC, who said this in Osogbo on Thursday at a meeting held with the governorship candidates, their running mates and party officials as part of the preparations of the commission ahead of the poll, stressed that voters would not be allowed to use telephones to take photographs of their ballots.
According to him, some voters have been using camera to take photographs of their ballots and show the same photos to politicians in order to be paid for voting for them.
Agbaje, who was the REC that conducted the August 2014 governorship election in the state before he was transferred to Ondo State and brought back again, said that INEC was determined to conduct a transparent and violence-free election in Osun State and therefore needed the cooperation of all stakeholders to achieve this.
He said vote-buying was an electoral offence, saying that emerging trends of electoral fraud would be curbed. he, however, noted that it required the support of all stakeholders and security agents.
Agbaje said, “We won’t allow people to go to the polling booths with their telephones. There won’t be anything to show that this is who they cast their votes for. We have security agents and they will not allow that. You will see our plan to curb this during the election.
“They said it was ‘vote and cook soup’ during Ekiti election, but they have changed it to ‘vote and buy land’ in Osun; but we won’t allow this. If you want to buy land, it won’t be from the money you will make during this election. You will need to look for other means to source money to buy the land.
“That is why we want you all candidates and party leaders to talk to your people to stop this. If you see anybody giving money to people during the election, alert security agents.”
The Chairman of the Restoration Party of Nigeria, Mr Tosin Odeyemi, appealed to INEC to ensure that the ad hoc staff that would be recruited for the election were non partisan in order not to rubbish the efforts of the commission.