2023: INEC Reiterates Ban on Smartphone Use at Voting Cubicles

Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reiterated that it will ban smartphones in voting cubicles. 

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu states this on Monday at the commission’s Stakeholders Summit on Addressing the Influence of Money on the 2023 General Elections in Abuja.

“Citizens must reject inducements to sway their votes through vote-buying. They must also engage effectively in stopping the negative use of money in our electoral process generally by reporting cases to INEC and other agencies. In addition, CSOs should make this a major plank of both their pre-election and election observation activities,” Yakubu said.

In the fight against vote-buying, the INEC chairman said that financial institutions, religious organizations, traditional institutions, the media, civic entities, and most importantly, individuals, are key players.

“Let me seize this opportunity to remind the public that the ban on cellphones at voting cubicles is still in force. We have for some time now reorganised our polling units so that ballot boxes are placed next to the voting cubicles to forestall the practice of unscrupulous voters showing their marked ballot papers to vote-buyers.

“We appeal to voters to draw the attention of our polling officials whenever they observe that these basic rules are not complied with. Let me once again reassure Nigerians that we are determined to ensure a solid election management system and a legacy of credible elections in Nigeria. We believe that every conscientious Nigerian wants us to do so,” he said.

Yakubu reassured the populace that INEC will keep developing methods to thwart the threat of vote-buying, stressing that the commission’s devotion was sole to the people. In order to ensure a credible process for the general elections in 2023, he claimed INEC had embraced cutting-edge technologies.

In his remark, the Chairman of IPAC, Yabagi Sani expressed concern over the actions of some political actors who he said are bent on subverting the electoral provisions by engaging in corrupt practices. 

On his part, Balarabe Ilelah, the director general of NBC, issued a stern warning to broadcasters, reading them the riot act and pleading with them not to support political causes that divide people. Additionally, he ordered all radio and television stations to retain records of their business activities throughout the election because any station discovered to have been complicit in conduct that put the nation’s peace in danger would face punishment.

Present at the meeting were representatives of the Nigeria Police Force, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, media organisations, civil society organisations, and the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC).

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