DP
By Joelbriggs001 • 12th Feb 2019 • 253 views • 58 comments

A human rights activist , Mr Femi Falana ( SAN ) , has called for the prosecution of clerics who are paid to pray for candidates , among other violators of the Electoral Act .

Falana, who spoke at the public presentation of a partnership between some stakeholders in the elections , noted that the focus of electoral misconduct should not be placed solely on those arrested on Election Day .

The partnership , headed by the Transition Monitoring Group and the Human and Environmental Development Agenda , included the Police Service Commission , Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission , among others .

According to the senior advocate, by virtue of Section 124 of the Electoral Act 2010 ( as amended ) , any form of inducement is a serious criminal offence.

He , however , noted that , since 1999, nobody had been prosecuted for inducing voters, “yet we witness inducement during our elections .”

Falana added , “In the case of Falae and Obasanjo, which was decided in 1999 , the Court of Appeal held that even though there was evidence that money, bags of rice and salt were distributed by the PDP — that was the allegation — the court said ‘yes, but there is no evidence or prove that the beneficiary of the inducement, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo , directed the party to distribute or give out any form of gifts for the election .’

“Since then , it has always been difficult to prove that the beneficiaries of inducement directly gave instructions to their parties or their agents to distribute money, rice , salt or whatever .”

He listed several offenders that were known to evade prosecution due to the clandestine nature of their offences.

Falana said , “We have left out those who are spending money on campaigns beyond be stipulation of the Electoral Act ; people or parties offering money to defect; money spent on media to manipulate stories and make phony projections ; pastors and mallams to pray for candidates to win elections ; unemployed people attending rallies ; thugs to attack political opponents and disrupt rallies ; and election officers .

“If we really want to challenge the violation of the Electoral Act via monetisation of the election , we have to go beyond those who are likely to be arrested on the day of election . With the cooperation of the police and security agents , it is easy to arrest those who distribute money during elections .”

58 Replies | Last update 12th Feb 2019 | Last comment

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