By Bukola Olasanmi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has adopted fresh strategies to check vote buying during the forthcoming general elections.
The commission also insists that it would not collate and transmit the results of the elections electronically, saying it does not have a place in the nation’s electoral law.
INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, disclosed this on Sunday night during an interactive session with media executives in Abuja.
The Presidential and National Assembly elections hold on February 16 while those of governorship and state Houses of Assembly would be conducted on March 2.
Vote buying had characterised recent governorship elections in the country.
During some of the elections, notably in Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and Osun States, voters turned their votes to commodities of trade and boldly struck deals with agents of parties willing to pay the highest price.
Lamenting the increasing incidences of vote buying, Okoye said the commission had put in place measures to check the act but that it discovered that sometimes those involved devised other means to thwart its efforts.
He said the commission would not disclose the fresh strategies it has adopted for the coming general elections, stating that those planning to buy votes would be shocked on the election day.
“The other strategies we have designed will not be made known so that they will not go ahead of us,” Okoye said.
The official said the commission had enhanced the Smart Card Reader in readiness for the poll, adding that it had eliminated the use of incident forms.
The commissioner said the results of the elections would be collated and transmitted manually.
He explained that though it had conducted pilot of electronic transmission of results and would continue to do so, it would not use the method because it was not recognised by the Electoral Act.
“We are collating and transmitting manually in accordance with the law. Everything is manual collation and manual transmission of results.
“INEC is aware that there is a bill before the National Assembly that may likely lead to the amendment of the law,” he said.