The National Assembly Joint Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and Political Parties Matters has sought to address the issue of vote buying in elections as part of ongoing efforts to improve the electoral process. Through a public hearing conducted by the said Committee on Monday, 10th December 2018, various stakeholders were able to proffer solutions to a menace currently threatening the transparency of free and fair elections in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, emphasized the importance of competitive, free, and fair elections as the basis of conferring legitimacy to any elective office and condemned all forms of undue influence to voters. Sen. Suleiman Nazif, Chairman Senate Committee on INEC also spoke of its dangers in thwarting Nigeria’s electoral processes and creating instability in the polity.
Some of the recommendations from the public hearing highlighted the importance of National Assembly passing the Electoral Offences Commission Bill to prosecute electoral offences as it is thought that its establishment will enable INEC focus on the registration of political parties and the conduct of elections in Nigeria. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu also used the platform to state that incident forms would not be used in the conduct of the 2019 General Elections and revealed the development of a new voters’ register that would allow voters to thumb print in a box against their photographs where the Smart Card Reader fails to authenticate their biometrics as part of its strategies to improve the electoral process.