SERAP Drags INEC to Court on Vote Buying

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    CEM REPORT | The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sued the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), alleging that the commission refused to prosecute those suspected of vote-buying and electoral bribery in the June 18 governorship election in Ekiti State.

    SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, made the disclosure via a statement on Sunday, stating that “vote-buying is a threat to fair and representative elections. Vote-buying amounts to undue influence and improper electoral influence. ”

    He further recalled reports that suggested there was a brazen pattern of vote-buying and electoral bribery at several polling units in the state, including bargaining prices for votes and payments made in uncompleted buildings.

    He further added that “wealthy candidates and their sponsors ought not to be allowed to profit from their crimes. Arresting and prosecuting vote-buyers will end widespread impunity for vote buying ahead of the February 2023 general election.”

    The suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/1189/2022 was filled by SERAP lawyers on Friday at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

    The group in the suit is seeking:

    “an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to seek and obtain detailed information about reports of vote-buying by the three leading political parties in the 2022 Ekiti State governorship election.”

    “an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to promptly and effectively prosecute those arrested, and to bring to justice anyone who sponsored, aided and abetted them.”

    SERAP argues that vote buying undermines INEC’s ability to discharge its responsibilities under Section 153 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended), paragraph 15(a) of the third schedule of the Constitution, and the Electoral Act 2022.

    No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit

    This adds to the over 300 cases filed against the commission in various federal high court across the country.

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