The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday released a statement concerning the banning of mobile phones at polling cubicles to avoid vote-buying, and this has generated conversation with many condemning the action, especially from PDP quarters.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, clarified the statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja, and reiterated that the commission was not banning the use of Smartphone around the polling unit areas, but the moment a prospective voter entered the voting cubicle to cast his or her vote.
He stated this as a response to the statement issued by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, condemning the decision of INEC to ban the use of smartphones at polling booths.
Mr Oyekanmi said Nigerians were fully aware of the challenge of vote-buying and selling that reared its ugly head in recent elections.
He said that had prompted many stakeholders to call on INEC to devise innovative ways to tackle the problem.
“In consultation with other stakeholders, the Commission came up with new measures to solve the problem, one of which is to disallow the use of smart phones and other electronic devices in the voting cubicles on election day.
“In other words, INEC is not banning phones around the polling unit area, but the ban takes effect from the moment a prospective voter collects his or her ballot paper and enters into voting cubicle to thumb print and thereafter drop the folded ballot paper into the ballot box.
“After that, the voter can have access to his or her phone.”
See some reactions below:
We can all agree INEC’s communication is not waterproof but they are trying to truncate the feedback system of vote buyers in verifying the fulfillment of the obligation of the voter while assuming INEC officials are Saints that cannot be bought over to allow this regardless. https://t.co/al3fchMpeM
— SEGA L’éveilleur®🚨 (@segalink) September 19, 2018
What is INEC trying to achieve banning phones and cameras from polling unit?
— [Lawal Lateef D] (@Latchenko) September 19, 2018
They condemn INEC’s measures to stop vote buying. Same human-beings will still come here and blame INEC for not stoping vote buying.
For the rigging claims, PDP just doesn’t like competition. They don’t want any competitor in the rigging business.
— Ediong (@Ediong) September 19, 2018
The move by INEC to ban the use of smartphones inside polling booths as a means of checking “vote buying” is a good one.
Dear @OfficialPDPNig, INEC did not ban smartphones in polling units as your chairman insists it did. Booth, not unit.
Show him my tweet for clarity 😀
— HENRY Okelue (@4eyedmonk) September 19, 2018
INEC bans phones inside the polling booths but phones are allowed at polling stations. To respect the electoral process and preventing voters, taking pictures to send to vote buyers. I can't remember using my phone or camera in any of my exams in the Uni. either👍🏿👍🏿👍🏿 https://t.co/xIPdj4JoeK
— Mike Ogbe🇳🇬🇺🇸🇪🇺 (@MikeOgbe123) September 19, 2018
INEC bans phones and cameras at polling stations. QED, let the rigging begin!
— Donald Duke (@Donald_Duke) September 18, 2018
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