The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that some politicians in the country have been buying up Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) or inducing voters financially to collect their Voter Identification Numbers.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu raised the alarm on Monday during the Commission’s quarterly consultative meeting with political parties in Abuja, where he presented the 2019 voter register and electoral guidelines.
His words: “A new method of vote-buying is being devised. We have received credible information that some partisan actors are now going round buying up PVCs from voters or financially inducing them to collect the VINs on their PVCs.
“In some instances, telephone numbers and details of bank accounts of voters have been collected. By collecting the PVCs, their intention may be to deprive the voters of voting since no one can vote without the PVC.
“By collecting their phone numbers and bank details, the intention is to induce voters by electronic transfer of funds to their accounts since it will be difficult to buy votes at polling units.
“By collecting the VINs, they may be acting on the mistaken notion that our system can be hacked into and the card readers somehow preloaded ahead of election and compromised.
“We want to assure Nigerians that we are aware of the new tricks. It is a futile effort. We will work with security agencies to deal with the violators of our electoral laws, including those who may be trying to compromise our staff responsible for making the PVCs available for collection by the legitimate voters.”
The commission also vowed to keep a close watch on political parties by monitoring their campaign finances.
“As campaigns are going on nationwide, the commission will keep very close watch on campaign finance. In particular, we shall closely monitor spending by parties and candidates as well as individual and group donations to campaign organisations. We will discharge this regulatory responsibility diligently.
“The commission has designed campaign finance reporting forms to ensure compliance with the reporting requirements by parties. The EC16C for annual finance reporting by parties, the EC16D for income (including contributions and donations) and EC16E on party expenditure are already available on the commission’s website,” he added.