By DAVID ADEOYE
IBADAN- Dr Mutiu Agboke, the outgoing Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Oyo State, has decried vote buying in the nation’s electoral processes, describing the development as “a brazen assault on Nigeria’s democracy” .
Agboke made this assertions on Tuesday at a valedictory programme/news conference held at the State headquarters of INEC in Ibadan.
He said the commitment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) toward the conduct of credible, free and fair elections in the state was paramount.
Agboke said the issue of vote buying remain a major area of concern.
He urged relevant stakeholders to play vital role in tackling the menace “to enhance credibility of our electoral processes”.
The resident electoral officer lauded the roles being played by the anti-corruption and security agencies in apprehending some of the vote buying perpetrators in the recent Ekiti governorship election.
On PVCs collection, the REC said, “Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) is key to the participation of any voter in the upcoming general election and that no electorate shall be allowed to vote under any condition”.
He urged eligible voters to take advantage of the extension of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) to register for their PVCs.
The REC said that more registration gadgets had been deployed to areas of pressure in the state to enable intending registrants to participate in the exercise without stress.
Agboke, whose tenure as REC ends on Wednesday July 6, appreciated major stakeholders, ranging from the National Orientation Agency, the Media, Inter-Party Advisory Committee, Youth Council of Nigeria, religious bodies, among others for their support during his stay in Oyo State.
He said INEC, under his leadership, gave the electorate the value for their votes by ensuring that votes of the people count at various elections conducted in the state.
“Indeed, 2019 general election was most critical exercise for the electorate to exercise their franchise.
“The election was a good experience for me to test and measure the acceptability of INEC in Oyo State,” he said.
The REC implored electorate in the state to be prepared for the coming 2023 general elections, promising the commission would always ensure that people’s votes count.
He said that the commission, after the 2019 general election, converted additional 1,607 polling units to the initial 4,783 polling units, “making a total of 6,390 polling units in the state”.
Agboke urged the media to assist in educating the electorate on the need to populate or migrate to these newly converted polling units before the conduct of the general elections in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the outgoing REC started with INEC in Ondo State in August 2017 before his deployment to Oyo State on Jan. 25, 2018, where he completed the mandatory five -year tenure as REC.(NAN)