Punish VIP electoral fraudsters, INEC chief tells Buhari

National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission in charge of Ogun, Osun and Ekiti states, Prof. Lai Olurode, has called on the incoming administration of Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd.) to arrest and punish all prominent Nigerians, who committed electoral malpractices during the general elections in the country.

He said this on Thursday at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, in his address at the presentation of Certificates of Return to the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who was re-elected for a second term, and National Assembly members-elect in the state.

He said if such electoral fraudsters had been punished in the past elections, it would have served as a deterrent to others, who might be nursing such warped idea.

He said, “In the past, those who perpetrated electoral fraud, the notable among them, have not been brought to book, that is why it continues.

“I will want the incoming government to make examples of some prominent election fraudsters.

“For us in INEC, we feel frustrated by the harassment, intimidation, maiming and the killings that attended the just concluded general elections in some states.

“We have always canvassed for an Election Offences Commission to deal with election security challenges in Nigeria. The is a need to make examples of big men, who perpetrate electoral crimes.”

Olurode, who condemned do-or-die politics in the country, said the players must work harder to entrench internal democracy in their political parties.

He lamented voter apathy in some states in the South-West, namely Ogun and Oyo States, describing the number of voters recorded during the last elections as unimpressive.

He noted that some African countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe and Ghana, had overcome voter apathy compared to Nigeria.

He said, “All stakeholders, including INEC, cannot afford to rest on our oars in aggressive voter education.

“Voter education is needed to combat hate speeches, as well as spur acts of voluntary service in order to bring down the cost of electioneering.”

Shortly after he received his Certificate of Return from Olurode, Amosun pledged to consolidate on his first term performance.

The governor assured the people of the state that he would complete all the ongoing projects across the state and initiate new ones if necessary.

State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Chief Timothy Ibitoye, described the general elections in the state as free, fair and credible.

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