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2019: Politicians buying up voters’ telephone numbers, bank account details – INEC alleges … Releases voters final register

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OBIORA IFOH, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has frowned at the practice by some politicians who now go round buying up Permanent Votere Cards (PVCs ) from voters or financially inducing them to collect the Voter Identification Numbers (VIN) on their PVCs.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, who on Monday released the final list of registered voters card, also said the electoral body was introducing the rolling and flattening of ballot papers by voters before casting them into the ballot boxes as a way of reducing incidence of vote buying.

According to INEC Chairman, “a new method of vote buying is being devised. We have received credible information that some partisan actors are now going round buying up PVCs from voters or financially inducing them to collect the Voter Identification Numbers (VIN) on their PVCs. In some instances, telephone numbers and details of bank accounts of voters have been collected. By collecting the PVCs, their intention may be to deprive the voters of voting since no one can vote without the PVC.

“By collecting their phone numbers and bank details, the intention is to induce voters by electronic transfer of funds to their accounts since it will be difficult to buy votes at polling units. By collecting the VINs, they may be acting on the mistaken notion that our system can be hacked into and the Card Readers somehow preloaded ahead of election and compromised.

“We want to reassure Nigerians that we are aware of the new tricks. It is a futile effort. We will work with the security agencies to deal with the violators of our electoral laws, including those who may be trying to compromise our staff responsible for making the PVCs available for collection by legitimate voters.”

On the new strategy to end vote buying, INEC Chairman said, “First, we altered the configuration of our polling units by moving the ballot boxes closer to the voting cubicles in order to make it difficult for voters to expose their marked ballot papers. Secondly, we have introduced a partial ban on the use of mobile phone and other photographic devices by voters while in the voting cubicles. Thirdly, we are introducing the rolling and flattening of ballot papers by voters before casting them into the ballot boxes.”

According to INEC a total of 84,004,084 made it in the final registered voters list for the 2019 general elections. The zonal figure includes: North West 20,188,100; North East 11,289,293; North East 13,366,236; South East 10,052,236; South West 16,292,212; and South South 12,841,279.

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