2019 elections: Saraki advises INEC on how to stop vote buying

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The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has advised the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to immediately convene a meeting of stakeholders in the next month’s general elections with the sole aim of formulating plans and ideas on how to render useless the intention of politicians scheming to buy votes.

Saraki, while reacting to a statement credited to Yakubu that some politicians were already plotting to purchase Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, urged the INEC boss not to stop at raising the alarm but immediately devise water-tight arrangement to make futile the efforts of such unscrupulous politicians.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Thursday the Senate President said the development constitutes a major threat to the successful conduct of the 2019 Polls, as it can become the single factor to decide where victory swings in the election.

He said, “We have continued to maintain that manipulation of election results does not start and end on Election Day. It starts long before the day and goes on even after the declaration of results. That is why we have to continually be vigilant and once we identify any threat to free, fair and transparent conduct of a credible election like the INEC chairman has done, all stakeholders must put heads together to block the loopholes.

“All stakeholders must come up fast with a solution to render useless the antics of those who intend to procure voter’s cards. We all need to put our heads together and I am sure that such a stakeholders’ meeting will not only nip in the bud the looming danger, it will also engender general confidence in the system and create a system in which all stakeholders become problem solvers.”

Saraki added that in the next six weeks, preceding the first set of elections and immediately after the elections, it was important for INEC to devise an arrangement in which it would constantly consult with stakeholders to identify issues affecting the process and how to find joint solutions to them.

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