The request by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) which demand that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should arrest and prosecute suspects who were said to have been involved in vote-buying in the recently concluded governorship election in Ekiti State has been rejected by the commission.
The election which led to the emergence of Dr Kayode Fayemi as the governor-elect of the state was said to have been fully characterised with vote buying by the two major parties that participated in the election, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The rejection was made by INEC as gathered by NIGERIA NEWS in a letter which was addressed to SERAP on the 20th of August.
According to INEC, the commission does not have any constitutional right to arrest and prosecute anyone for vote buying.
The content of the letter by INECin response to the request of SERAP reads: “We refer to your letter dated 17th July 2019 wherein you requested that the Commission investigate and prosecute alleged vote-buying in the recently concluded governorship election in Ekiti State.”
“The Commission wishes to inform SERAP of the constraints posed by extant statutory provisions against your well-intended request.”
“You may also wish to note that it is not part of the constitutional duties of the Commission to arrest and investigate suspects found to have contravened provisions of the Electoral Act or any other Law for the time being in force.”
“Section 150(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) only confers powers on Legal Officers of the Commission or any other Legal Practitioner appointed by it to undertake the prosecution of offences disclosed under the Act.”
“We wish to assure you that the Commission will continue to partner with relevant security agencies to prosecute electoral offenders.”
Recall that the PDP candidate, Professor Olushola Eleka lost the election to the APC candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who is also a former Governor of the State.