The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked for the support of collaborating agencies to ensure a violent free, fair and credible election.
This request was made by the Osun INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Mutiu Agboke during an advocacy visit to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission (ICPC) in Osogbo on Thursday.
Agboke who noted that INEC cannot record success without collaboration among agencies added that the Commission had gathered likely problems that may confront it during the 2023 general elections.
The issues according to him are that of buying of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and vote buying.
In his words, “INEC gathered that politicians are now buying the PVCs in bulk to dispossess the owners of the cards and prevent them from voting.
“We want the ICPC to be on the lookout and prevent those who have such PVCs that were bought from voting.“
While admitting that any issues with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines would be a result of corruption with the INEC and adhoc staff, Agboke added that the Commission had put in place mechanisms to ensure proper prosecution.
“Relevant section of the electoral act prescribes two years in prison for electoral fraud. We don’t want illegality to go Scot-free.
“We want to assure that in Osun, whoever is declared the winner is who the people voted for. We will do the right thing and ensure the process runs the desired course.“
Responding, the Osun Resident Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Demola Bakare assured that ICPC is fully mobilised for the election.
While noting that INEC is the agency empowered by law to be in charge of the election process, he expressed satisfaction that the highest level of both Commissions meets to outline areas of collaboration.
“The grandfather of corruption is political corruption and the agency in charge of the election process is INEC
“I am not surprised that at the highest level both the INEC and ICPC chairmen meet and at the state level, the collaboration is continuing to make the two organisations succeed in their statutory mandate.
“ICPC Osun office will be supportive of whatever Osun INEC is doing statutorily.
“The 2023 general election would not be an exception. We must get it right. I can say categorically, that the 2023 election in Osun will be without any negative incidents and we will collaborate to achieve that.
Bakare also urged INEC to properly screen INEC election observers, alleging that over time they have been observed to be partisan.