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Electoral Votes

24.07.2022 Featured SERAP Sues INEC for Failing to Prosecute Ekiti Vote Buyers

Published 24th Jul, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for failing to prosecute those suspected of vote buying and electoral bribery during the Ekiti State governorship election on June 17.

Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, SERAP lawyers, filed the suit, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/1189/2022, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday.

SERAP sought “an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to seek and obtain detailed information about reports of vote buying by the three leading political parties in the 2022 Ekiti State governorship election”.

READ MORE: Violence, Vote Buying… The Ugly Side Of Ekiti Election

SERAP also sought an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to promptly and effectively prosecute those arrested for vote buying and bribery.

“Vote buying undermines the ability of INEC to discharge its responsibilities under Section 153 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended), paragraph 15(a) of the third schedule of the constitution and the Electoral Act 2022,” SERAP argued.

“Ending impunity for vote buying and electoral bribery would contribute to free and fair elections. A corruption-free electoral process is essential for building public confidence in the electoral process and the credibility and legitimacy of the 2023 elections.

“One of the people’s most sacred rights is the right to vote. INEC has a constitutional and statutory responsibility to ensure the effective exercise of the right of all eligible voters to participate in their own government in free and fair elections.

“Many years of allegations of vote buying and electoral bribery and entrenched impunity of perpetrators have undermined public confidence in the electoral process.

“Preventing and combating vote buying and electoral bribery would advance the people’s right to vote and to participate in their own government, as well as bolster the ability of INEC to effectively discharge its constitutional and statutory mandates.

“Prosecuting allegations of vote buying and electoral bribery would be entirely consistent with the Nigerian constitution, the electoral act and the country’s international human rights anti-corruption obligations.”

READ ALSO: NSCDC Officials ‘Steal’ N2m Meant To Buy Votes For APC Candidate In Ekiti

FIJ had reported pockets of violence and electoral malpractice in several polling units during the Ekiti governorship election, and SERAP had given INEC a seven-day ultimatum to investigate and prosecute suspects.

Agents of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) reportedly engaged in vote buying across Ekiti State in June. Some of these agents offered voters as much as N10,000 in exchange for their votes.

SERAP said that no date had been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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Published 24th Jul, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

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