From Iniabasi Umo, Uyo
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Akwa Ibom State said plans to sensitize people against vote buying in the 2019 general elections and its implications would soon commence.
Speaking on Thursday in Uyo, Chairman of Akwa Ibom Civil Society Organizations Forum, Mr. Harry Udoh who said that the sensitization would be door to door and done in the local dialect in communities, added that the exercise is necessary to stop a repeat of cases of vote buying as it happened in Ekiti and Osun elections where voters sold their votes for N4, 000 and N7, 000.
He commended the state leadership of the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) for relocating 22 polling units hidden in private residences of politicians and other locations in the state, explaining that previous elections in the state and the country in general were not transparent.
He said they were marred by massive rigging, violence, and voter intimidation, while votes were awarded to the winners of the 2015 election.
He stated that there were rumours, talks and plans of private armies raised by politicians in the state to prosecute their unholy activities in next year’s election, and called on security agencies to checkmate the impending danger.
“For us at the civil society organizations forum we will keep engaging to ensure that we educate the masses not to sell their votes. We will keep at it until the people know that they should not sell their votes. We will keep at it until we get to the place where elections are issue-based and the people will be able to interrogate the politicians to elect the people of their choice.
“By this singular act INEC has set the stage to deepen democracy in Akwa Ibom state by ensuring citizen participation in the forthcoming elections. It also gives us confidence that this current INEC means well for the people of Akwa Ibom state.
“We had instances where people used to thumbprint on ballot papers and they got tired and they had to use kernel to thumbprint. We have 1.9million voters in Akwa Ibom state for instance, and over 1.2million votes was awarded to the winner of the 2015 election. Perhaps the man
would have won but I am saying that not all of the people voted,” he said.