INEC to reposition polling booths to check vote buying, says REC

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Polling booths are henceforth to be position in a way to make it difficult for people to see how voters cast their votes during elections, a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) announced in Awka on Monday.

Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, the REC in charge of Anambra, who made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said that the measure was to make it impossible for anyone to know who a voter voted for.

The measure comes against the backdrop of massive vote-buying reported in recent elections in the country, including the governorship election in Ekiti, which analysts said, was characterised by vote-buying.

“The commission is considering re-arranging the way polling booths are positioned during elections to make it difficult for anybody to see the place a voter voted,’’ Orji said.

He described vote-buying as another big threat to democracy that needed everyone to join hands with INEC to eradicate.

“INEC cannot check the problem of vote buying alone. It is a crime that security agents, members of the public who collect the money and politicians who buy the votes must come together to tackle.’’

The INEC chief also called on eligible persons who were yet to register in the on-going continuous voter registration in Anambra to do so before the Aug. 17 deadline.

He noted that the registration would not be extended beyond Aug.17, pointing out that “from today we have 1,985 days to the general elections’’.

Orji said that on Aug.17, INEC would issue notice of election, indicating that the 2019 general election was good to go and that party primaries would follow between this month and next month.

“In Anambra State, the registration is now taking place from Sunday to Saturday, beginning from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and our officials are in all the 21 Local Government Areas.

“We have functional machines, enough manpower and materials for the exercise and we encourage all eligible persons to take advantage of this opportunity to register.’’

Orji, who also stressed the importance of enlightenment and voter education to successful elections, appealed to the media to do more in educating Nigerians on electoral activities, ahead of the elections.

On uncollected PVCs, he said that INEC did not have too many uncollected Permanent Voters Cards in Anambra but advised those yet to pick theirs to come up and collect them.

“We intend to photocopy the uncollected PVCs in our custody and paste it for public viewing and after that send buck SMS to the owners because we want everybody to have his or her PVC before the elections,’’ Orji said. (NAN)

Biola Lawal

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