The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is to go tough with anyone buying or selling votes during the governorship election in Osun State.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje handed down the warning at the commission’s state secretariat in Osogbo during an interaction with candidates and leaders of the forty eight political parties participating in the next month election.
Mr Agbaje said no voter would be allowed to bring telephone close to the polling booths so as to prevent people who would attempt to take pictures of ballot papers to indicate where they thumb printed for the purpose of being paid for.
The INEC official noted that there was rumour on the streets that the slang of “vote and cook soup” that dominated previous Ondo and Ekiti elections would be replicated in the September election in Osun with “Vote and buy land”.
Mr Agbaje urged candidates to make the issue of PVC collection an important aspects of their campaign, noting that a party supporter who refused to register or collect his or her voter card adds no value to the candidate and the party.
He announced that a total of 540,658 permanent voter cards had not been collected out of the 1,676,384 registered voters in the state.
The REC maintained that only the registered voters would determine the next governor of Osun State as he assured that the commission would not in any way interfere with the process nor allow anyone to do so.
Mr. Agbaje also reminded the political actors of some of the criminal contents of the electoral act, which enforcement he said would be more effective during the Osun poll.
He warned politicians not to come and see him personally, or by proxy or through their agent, saying everything concerning the election would be transparently done.
In their various responses, the candidates and the parties sued for a peaceful poll, as they charged the umpire to keep to its words.
One of them and the candidate of Alliance for Democracy, Mr Gbenga Akintola described the interaction as a timely measure to build trust of actors and the electoral supervising institution.
Also, Mr Tosin Odeyemi who is the chairman of Restoration Party of Nigeria appealed to INEC and security operatives to act promptly on information and observation bothering on attempt malpractice during the election.