Vote Buying: ICPC Apprehends INEC Official Found with a Stack of Cash in Imo

Reports indicate that an Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official has been apprehended by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) during the Imo State governorship election for being found in possession of a substantial amount of money.

The incident occurred at Polling Unit 005, Township Primary School, Ikenegbu 1, in the Owerri Municipal LGA, as the INEC staff allegedly received the money from an unnamed party for the purpose of vote-buying. This issue remains a pervasive challenge that compromises the integrity of elections in Nigeria.

In a bid to address electoral malpractices, including vote buying and selling, the ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) deployed officers to monitor off-cycle elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa.

Earlier reports from the ongoing off-cycle election in Kogi State revealed that party agents were offering financial incentives to voters in Lokoja to secure their support for respective candidates. Positioned approximately 500 meters from polling units, these agents distributed cash amounts ranging from N3,000 to N5,000 to voters, depending on individual characteristics and negotiation skills.

In a separate development, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in Bayelsa State, Udengs Eradiri, alleged ongoing vote buying during the off-cycle election in the state. He claimed that the party in power was utilizing state resources for this purpose.

Eradiri made these assertions shortly after casting his vote at his polling unit in Ward 10, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa, around 9:10 am. According to him, funds earmarked for education were being misappropriated for vote buying.