Civil society organisation and anti-corruption network Yiaga Africa has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute those arrested for vote-buying and electoral fraud in the just concluded Ekiti state governorship election.
The call came following the rumour that the operatives of the EFCC are under pressure to release those arrested for vote trading during last week’s Saturday guber poll.
The election, won by the All Progressives Congress candidate, Abiodun Oyebanji, following the participation of 16 political parties, was characterised by pockets of violence, as well as voters’ inducement in some parts of the state by sponsored thugs.
The EFCC, in partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had arrested agents suspected to be working for the ruling APC engaging in vote buying. Some of them were also caught with the monies allegedly used to induce voters.
Yiaga, in a statement signed by one of its board members, Ezenwa Nwagwu, and an executive director, Samson Itodo, decried the trading of votes during the exercise.
The anti-corruption network noted that its observers deployed for the election saw how party agents from the main political parties, especially the APC, were sharing N7,000 to voters after signifying how their ballot papers were marked.
The group added that the anti-graft agency needed to carry out its investigation on those involved in electoral fraud during the exercise.
“Yiaga Africa commends the professionalism of the security agents who worked to maintain peace on election day.
“We commend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the arrest of mercenaries deployed by political parties to buy votes.
“We urge the EFCC and security agencies to investigate and prosecute all citizens involved in electoral fraud, especially those involved in vote trading,” the group said.
The group disclosed that it deployed 500 observers in all 16 local government areas of the state, but noted that incidents of vote-trading were more rampant in Ijero, Ikere, and Ado local council areas of Ekiti during last week’s exercise.
The deployment strategy, Yiaga said, provided the group with timely and accurate information on the election day.
Yiaga Africa, however, called on the security agencies to remain non-partisan and professional in the build-up to the Osun state governorship election.