Kogi/Bayelsa elections: ICPC deploys undercover agents to check vote buying

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said it will deploy undercover agents to check vote buying during Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

It also said those indulging in vote buying will be discreetly marked and arrested after the elections.

The Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, who made the disclosures at a session with select newsmen in Abuja, said the agency has had talks with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on plans to check vote buying in Kogi and Bayelsa.

Owasanoye said: “Shortly after the federal elections in May, we did a dialogue on vote buying. We did a rigorous analysis of vote buying, how it happens and what we can do to mitigate it.

“ICPC is closely working with INEC. We are planted within the communities. So, if you go there to do your work there on Election Day as a journalist, you may not necessarily see an ICPC person branded but he or she is there.

“We are trying to understand how this works in order to enforce. So, we have been having meetings with INEC and we will be in the communities. Less visible, ghost but we are there.

“We are also doing some public enlightenment in those two particular states. Just today, I reviewed a radio jingle which would alert people to know that we would be there with them but we will not be seen. It is a fact; I am not just saying it.

“We have had meetings with the chairman of INEC some few weeks back planning the strategy.”

He said ICPC may however not arrest those who indulge in vote buying on the spot to avoid the disruption of the elections.

He said the law will take its course after the conduct of the two elections.

The ICPC chairman added: “You know elections are volatile issues, so if we see you distributing money right now, we may not necessarily arrest you there because it can lead to the end of the election in that place.

“But, we will record whatever goes on and we will come back quietly after the election and take you away.

“We have to evaluate the security situation, evaluate what is happening and then decide whether to arrest you there and then or later but at least we have the information we need.

“If we need to go back to pick up the community leader or whoever distributed the money, then we can do that. So, that is the strategy and we will be there like ghosts. That is all I can tell you.”

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