Story from Rabi’atu, Lokoja
The Executive Director, Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) Comrade Idris Miliki has lamented 70,000 multiple registrants found in the Kogi voter register by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Comrade Miliki made this known at a one-day Post Primaries Engagement with political parties, organised by Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in partnership with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) on prioritizing anti-corruption and accountability issues towards 2023 elections, with support from Mac Arthur Foundation.
The executive director described the situation as unfortunate stressing that INEC should work very hard to correct the mistake, saying that the improvement in the 2022 amendments as contained in the Electoral Act is a work in progress that must be commended.
He also berated political parties in Nigeria for turning electorates into commodities they can purchase at will.
He stated that while it is unfortunate that the political parties are the culprits in votes buying, the electorates who sell their votes are also culpable as there won’t be buyers if there are no sellers.
He expressed worries and blamed political parties for not doing enough in political education and enlightenment which heightened the desperation to buy votes.
Comrade Miliki lauded the new Electoral Act which he said greatly improved the Ekiti governorship election, stressing that ahead of the 2023 general elections, CHRCR would sustain its sensitization and engagement with citizens.
Miliki decried the pitfalls of the nation’s elections owing to vote-buying and pointed out that it has taken new dimensions, from wholesale buying at the primaries just held across the state to the anticipated retail vote-buying in the coming elections.
He praised the introduction of the BIVAS machine as another improvement in the nation’s electoral system.
The executive director described vote-buying and selling as a criminal offense and tasked political parties to incorporate anti-corruption and accountability issues in the 2023 elections.
Comrade Miliki stressed the need for the inclusion of more vulnerable and marginalized groups throughout the election processes in 2023 and appealed that parties should be engaged in issues-based campaigns to checkmate vote-buying.
The various political parties present at the meeting all made commitments to fight issues of corruption, pointing out that efforts are on for all the candidates.
The political parties said they have a document that has been handed over to candidates of the parties who emerged at the primaries to take corruption issues seriously.
The goal of the one-day engagement by CHRCR in partnership with CISLAC is to reduce corruption in Nigeria by bolstering support for anti-corruption and social inclusion amongst critical groups and strengthening policies and programs for anti-corruption at the state level as the country prepares for general election in 2023.