Ata Igala berates INEC over votes buying as Ekiti REC moves to fill vacant assembly seat.
The perpetuation of votes buying is an indictment on government, says the Ata Igala, HRM Idakwo Michael Amaboni II.
According to the chairman of Kogi State Traditional Council, the trend is fuelled by widespread poverty in the country.
During an interactive session between the commission and the traditional rulers in the state, the Ata challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that this year’s elections were better than those of 2015.
“Vote buying is as a result of poverty in the country. We are appealing to the government at all levels to address the factors that gave rise to vote-buying, as it is not healthy for the nation’s democracy,” the royal father advised.
Earlier, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. James Apam, had appealed to traditional rulers to use their position to sensitize the electorate on the need to come out and claim their permanent voter’s cards (PVCs).
Apam spoke against the background that 261,917 PVCs were still lying unclaimed less than one month to the general elections.
“The figure is outrageous considering the importance of elections. This is worrisome and the commission is urging the traditional rulers in the state to assist us to talk to the people because their power to elect the candidates of their choice lies with the PVC,” Apam said.
Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Ekiti State, Prof. Abduganiy Raji, yesterday said that he had written the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on the need to conduct by-election into the vacant seat in the House of Assembly.
The seat of Ekiti South-West Constituency II, comprising Igbara Odo and Ogotun towns, became vacant following the death of Michael Adedeji.
Adedeji, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, who was shot in the head by gunmen at Onigaari, GRA, Ado-Ekiti, on October 26, 2018, died a few days later at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido-Ekiti.
Speaking through the Commission’s Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Taiwo Gbadegesin, in Ado-Ekiti yesterday, the REC said the electoral umpire under his control “is fully prepared” to conduct a credible election to fill the vacant seat.
Raji told journalists that he had written to the INEC chairman on the vacancy and only awaiting directive to set the machinery in motion for the election.
“We are set for the election and we hope that the by-election will be conducted by this January. We have written to Abuja, I mean to INEC national chairman, and we are expecting them to set the timetable for us to conduct the election,” he added.