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Akiyoye-Afolabi: Vote Buying’ll Be A Great Concern In 2023 Elections

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Commends INEC for Osun guber poll

The Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyoye-Afolabi, on Tuesday, said vote-buying will be a great concern in the 2023 general elections if not addressed, considering how politicians induced voters in the just concluded Osun State governorship election.

Speaking to AN24 in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi, who was one of the domestic observers that monitored last Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State, said vote-buying is dangerous to Nigeria’s democracy.

Akiyode-Afolabi, who was a former chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), condemned vote-buying and called on politicians, political parties, the electorate, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to curb vote buying.

“There was a lot of manifestation of vote buying during the Osun State governorship election. It is one of the major problems that we are dealing with. We also had people in the queue who didn’t sell their votes. We need to empower more people to shun vote buying and also protect the mandate of the election,” she said.

Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi commended INEC for conducting a credible election, saying that the effective use of technology and electronic transfer of results by the electoral body has improved Nigeria’s election and given the electorate the confidence that votes count.

She commended the INEC officials, especially the Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for good conduct during the election, noting that the Osun State governorship election showed significant improvement from the Ekiti State election. “By and large, INEC performed extremely well in the last election,” she said.

But despite commending INEC for good conduct during the election, the Executive Director of WARDC also expressed her worry on the issue of secrecy of the voters, noting that some cubicles were exposed during the election and some were placed in front of people’s houses, which was a significant issue for vote-buying.

She said there are still lots of improvements that need to be done in regard to ensuring that people cast their votes in secrecy to reduce vote-buying and financial inducements during elections.

Dr. Akiyode-Afolabi also praised the security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the election but noted that the security agents didn’t do much to prevent vote buying.

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