Pro-democracy and civil society organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to annul the Ekiti State governorship poll held at the weekend because of overwhelming evidence of financial inducements, corruption of the electoral process and absolute compromise of the ingredients of a free, fair and transparent election.
HURIWA condemned the major contenders for their alleged involvement in the compromises and criminalization of the electoral process in the state which the group maintained has vitiated the constitutional principle of respecting the will of the electorate.
This, the group said, can no longer be attained going by the widespread reports of brazen and open trading, buying and selling of the votes of the electorate even as law enforcement agencies were allegedly also bought over. HURIWA is miffed that even a governorship candidate (name withheld) was captured by an eagle-eyed media practitioner allegedly giving money to a voter at his polling unit alongside his wife.
The group asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest the candidate and for INEC to “cancel the poll because whatever results from a process that is muddied by corruption and bribery can’t be said to be credible, free and fair nor can it be classified as transparent.
HURIWA carpeted the EFCC for lacking good enough intelligence to stop this distortion of the electoral process in Ekiti State.” HURIWA disclosed that its members that voted reported widespread buying and selling of votes by the major contenders such as the APC, SDP and PDP.
It alleged that evidences abound in the media and from credible sources of how agents of mostly a major party went about negotiating, buying and paying openly for votes.
Some voters were seen arguing about the fact that some polling agents of the political grouping failed to pay them the agreed sum after they cast their votes for their candidate as negotiated, HURIWA affirmed.
HURIWA in a media statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said “the only credible line of action by INEC to take immediately is to annul the election and reschedule another fresh poll” during which time proper vetting of the security apparatuses and persons to monitor the electoral process and ensure zero tolerance to bribery and mortgaging of the electorate.
HURIWA added: “If INEC doesn’t cancel this immoral and open buying and selling of ballots, then INEC itself is compromised heavily.”