UK Reacts To Ekiti Election: Vote-Buying As Bad As Rigging

The British Government has condemned vote-buying, which was rampant in the recent Ekiti State governorship election.

While addressing journalists shortly after a meeting with INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja on Friday, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, described vote-buying as a form of electoral misconduct like rigging and ballot stuffing.

He said, “I was there in Ekiti to monitor elections and I heard a lot of reports of alleged vote buying and we are convinced that some vote buying went on. I condemn it. Vote buying is illegal; it is against the law, it is just as vote rigging, it is just as bad as ballot stuffing.

“We cannot make a distinction when all these activities are illegal so I condemn that. What are we going to do about it? Well we just had a meeting with the chairman of INEC, we have been talking about public awareness and how the political parties themselves can take responsibility for condemning this action and not continuing it.

“We do hope that 2019 will be free, fair, credible and of course, peaceful elections.”

The British envoy, however, commended INEC for the conduct of elections in recent times, saying the UK government had faith in INEC and its leadership.

Arkwright also said the UK and United States governments had pledged $60m (N21.6bn) to voter education in Nigeria for the next six years.

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