By Olajide Idowu
The Sept. 22 governorship election in Osun will be free of vote-buying, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Osun has assured.
Agbaje gave the assurance while addressing newsmen at the Osun Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Correspondent Chapel in Osogbo on Thursday.
He said toward achieving the set goal, the commission had commenced repositioning its operations to prevent such negative development during the forthcoming and subsequent elections in the area.
“We are making arrangements to reposition the voting cubicle so that ballot papers cannot be shown to another person after thumb-printing on it.
“We are also looking at putting one of the three security officers closer to the cubicles so that showing of ballot papers would be prevented.
“We are working with INEC headquarters to see how we can prevent voters from taking their phones into the cubicles.
“This is to prevent them from taking pictures of their ballots, with a view to exchanging it for money.
“We have also spoken with the Commissioner of Police and heads of other security outfits, to go round the polling units during the elections and arrest anybody buying or selling votes.
“In the same vein, I will also be going round the polling units too and arrest people who engage in vote buying, as there is something called civilian arrest, “he said.
He said the commission was embarrassed by the reports of vote buying during elections, noting that the allegation was worrisome.
“It is embarrassing to have three security agents at a polling unit and vote buying still takes place right in their presence.
“We have been talking with politicians because if they don’t bring money to the polling units, no electorate will be selling his or her vote.According to law, vote buying is a serious offense.“
According to Agbaje, the commission is desirous of having a successful election in Osun, adding that whatever happens in the conduct of the election will reflect 2019 general elections.
He called on media practitioners to support the commission “at this crucial time, “ stressing that voting-buying was capable marring the credibility of elections in the country, if not arrested.