Group seeks annulment of Edo, Ondo guber poll results •Says the elections were sold and bought

Posted by News Express | 28 November 2016 | 2,528 times

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A pro-democracy non-governmental body, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has decried what it called the widespread bribery of voters in the recent Edo and Ondo states’ governorship elections by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), even as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been carpeted for incompetence and willful compromise.

The rights group, which is an officially accredited observer to both elections, expressed sadness that mass poverty in Nigeria has made millions of voters susceptible and vulnerable to petty-bribery of as low as N1,000 to betray their conscience and mortgage their future by selling their fundamental human rights to vote and be voted for.

The rights group said from available evidence during the polls, these results were sold and bought and therefore lacks constitutional legitimacy. 

HURIWA lamented that the sharp malpractices of massive financial inducements of voters by the mainstream political parties which, apart from constituting a serious debasement of our rationality and humanity, has also offended the fundamental principle of state policies enshrined in the constitution, which obliges government at all levels to eradicate corruption.

“How can a system institutionalised through cocktails of bribery and corruption fulfill this elementary imperative of our grund norm, to eradicate corruption and abuse of office, since logically it’s impossible for someone to give what he hasn’t got?

“A pitiable situation whereby politicians bribe voters buffeted by government-induced mass hunger to elect them into offices, as noticeable in the Edo and Ondo governorship polls in the recent times, is not only tantamount to laying the criminal foundation for mass-looting of public funds, but is a blight on our national conscience and psyche.”

In a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf also indicted officials and officers of INEC and law enforcement such as armed police and soldiers for colluding with political agents for bribery and inducement of voters, just as it has called for thorough and independent investigations.

“Members of the armed security forces looked the other way while the bonanza of bribery and corruption took place in those Ondo and Edo state elections.

“The Nigerian state must not tolerate these widespread bribery of voters, and the Federal Government owe Nigerians the constitutional obligation to ensure that the electoral process is free from such grave bribery infestations, more so when President Muhammadu Buhari has made heavy weather of his determination to weed out all corrupt practices.”

Regretting that the unchallenged regimes of open corruption that took place during the Edo and Ondo governorship polls, if allowed to stand and the principal characters allowed to get away with these fundamental crimes against our democracy and the constitution, then generations to come will judge the current administration harshly, for adopting hypocrisy as a national ethos.

HURIWA has similarly advocated immediate impeachment of the Edo State governor, since it is clear that there were widespread malpractices of financial inducement of voters; just as the group has called for the nullification of the just ended Ondo State elections for being a product of bribery and corruption.

HURIWA cited Sections 14(5) which affirmed: “The state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power” and 34(1) that: “Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person.”

The group therefore called for the immediate review of the governorship polls in Edo and Ondo states.

Photo shows INEC Chairman Mahmoud Yakubu.

Source: News Express

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