National Chairman of independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, has fingered the elite for conniving with the electorate on vote-buying.
He stated this on Thursday while delivering a paper at the opening of the 14th All Nigeria Guild of Editors’ Conference (ANEC) held at Event Centre, Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s conference: “Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy and the Nigerian Media”, Prof. Yakubu, who was represented on the occasion by Mr. Mike Igini, expressed concern over vote-buying, describing it as terrible,and unconventional, which must be addressed for credible and sustainable democracy.
Stating that it was due to vote-buying that secret ballot system was introduced in some advanced democracies, the INEC Chairman said: ” Vote-buying is terrible; we have to address it; it is a breach of constitutional provisions. The elites connive with electorate to engage in vote-buying. Vote-buying is bad and is a disincentive to service”‘
The INEC boss who urged journalists to shun fake news and hate speeches, also enjoined media to always engage in “speeches of hope and decency”.He advised the media to protect public interest against abuse and continue to tell election managers that election rules must be obeyed.
“Media should continue to seek information from us; educate the voters; provide a platform to publicise their problems to the government and give equal space or air time to all political parties”, the INEC Chairman urged media.
In his goodwill message sent to the Conference through Mr. Ayinde Soaga, a General Manager of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), the Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who commended the organisers, urged Editors to “shun fake news and hate speeches capable of scuttling the hard-won democracy or derailing the transition programme”.
The Vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, declared the Conference open with a charge to the media to be unbiased in their reportage.