By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said it was limited in its capacity to stop vote-buying and justified the N242 billion proposal to conduct the 2019 general election.
INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, speaking on Channels Television, yesterday, said the commission had taken several steps since the issue of vote buying drew national attention during Edo State governorship election in 2016.
He said while it was the responsibility of the commission to prosecute those who infringed the electoral laws, including those involved in the act of inducement during elections, he confessed that the commission does not have the power to arrest, a duty he said was meant for security agencies.
He said: “Inducing people is a criminal offence but when it happens around an election hall, then it falls under the provision of the electoral laws and other criminal provisions.
“When it is under the electoral law, the commission has the duty and responsibility to prosecute, but it is for other agencies to arrest and to investigate and on conclusion of their investigation, the commission prosecutes.”
Why INEC requires N242bn to conduct election
Justifying the N242 billion proposal to conduct the election, he said: “You ought to look at the budget in real terms. You ought to look at the value of the naira today and what it was four years ago.
“In many countries you use volunteers and they are not really paid. But here, to train them, you have to give them allowance. To get them to come on election day, you have to vote transport and feeding allowance.
“In 2006, an advert was placed by the commission in many national dailies asking for quality volunteers, retired civil servants, teachers, organised private sector, but they were very few.”