The United Kingdom, UK, has called on relevant agencies in Nigeria to ensure the immediate prosecution of all those arrested in connection with vote trading in last weekend’s governorship election in Ekiti State.
This was contained in a statement, yesterday, from the Press and Public Affairs Office of the British High Commission in Nigeria, and made available by Mrs. Ndidi Amaka.
The statement, which frowned at the reported cases of vote buying, however, congratulated the people of Ekiti State for their peaceful and democratic participation in the governorship election.
“We are concerned about reports of vote buying during the election and call on the relevant authorities to hold any persons involved accountable. The buying and selling of votes has no place in a democracy,” said the High Commission.
It also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders for their collective effort in the successful conduct of the poll under the new legal framework.
Saturday’s election in Ekiti state was the first major election conducted since the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022.
The High Commission added that its team of observers on the ground noted commendable improvements in the electoral process including the timely opening of polls, better functioning of the Biometric Voters Accreditation System,BVAS, devices for accrediting voters, and the transparent and efficient electronic transmission of polling unit results to INEC’s results viewing portal.
“We encourage INEC to reflect on other potential improvements to the electoral process ahead of general elections in 2023, especially the re-distribution and assignment of voters to newly established polling units to reduce queuing times, better awareness and implementation of electoral guidelines by INEC staff and improved accessibility at polling units to help with the participation of persons with disabilities.
“We urge any party or individual who is dissatisfied with the process to seek redress in a peaceful manner and through the appropriate legal channels.
“As Nigeria moves closer to the 2023 general elections, we encourage people to register and collect their PVCs and to participate actively in the political process.
“The UK will continue to assist INEC and our partners in their aspiration to support peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Nigeria,” the statement added.