The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday disclosed that some politicians were planning to use food vendors within polling units as agents for vote-buying.
The commission also dispelled claims that it had outsourced the recruitment of election duty staff to partisan actors.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this in Abuja during a meeting with a delegation of European Union, led by its Chief Election Observer, Marie Arena.
He said, “We are training our election duty staff in addition to voter education and sensitisation, in this innovation. We will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the sanctity of the ballot.
“However, following recent consultations with stakeholders across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, the attention of the commission was drawn to a fresh plan by some political actors to use food vendors around polling units with large voter populations as collection points for cash-for-votes as well as other forms of material inducement to voters on election day. We are aware of this trick. It will not work.”
Yakubu assured the EU delegation that preparation by INEC for the 2019 general elections had been on course.
“We have had a series of very assuring meetings with security agencies in order to ensure that processes are protected, the right of voters to vote freely safeguarded, access for observers and the media guaranteed, the election transparent, and the outcome a true reflection of the will of the Nigerian people,” he stated.
Earlier, Marie Arena promised that the EU would issue two preliminary reports after the elections.
She said, “We really appreciate this work that we have to do together here in your country for democracy and for the Nigerian people because without democracy, there is no development, there is no freedom, there is no economy.
“We will have 40 long-term observers deployed in your country in all the states and we will have parliamentary observation mission that will come for the election days. They are colleagues of mine and we will work together within this period.
“We will issue two preliminary reports after the election. We will work strongly with all the stakeholders of this country. We will also have the final reports two months after the election with recommendations. We really appreciate the work that INEC has done with the previous recommendations after the 2015 elections.”
Also on Monday, the commission received a delegation of ECOWAS election observers led by a former chairperson, Electoral Commission of Ghana, Charlotte Osei.
She said, “Our mission is to let INEC know that ECOWAS is deploying both long-term and short-term observer missions. ECOWAS would be focusing on legal, operations, gender, media and people living with disabilities.”