Politics No Law Terms Giving of Gifts to Voters During Campaign a Bribe- INEC



The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has cleared the air about gifts distributed to voters. He said gifts given to the electorate during political campaigns should not be termed as bribe but distribution of gifts on Election Day, within the vicinity of the polling unit, is a bribe.

Some minority parties had described distribution of gifts by major parties as bribery.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said this in an interview with #Punch on Friday, adding that a constitutional basis needed to be established before gifts from political parties and politicians could be referred to as bribery.

“If they say people are giving gifts, how do we interpret that (as bribes)? What is INEC’s provision to act on that? They (the givers) may be telling a lie but if they say they are giving gifts for Ramadan, or if they say they are doing service support, what will INEC be able to do?

“It’s a grey area that is left simply for interpretation. If there is any law that is broken, then we will act on that. How can you tell that what they are doing has anything to do with electoral law?”

He explained that the provisions of the electoral law instead prohibit distribution of gifts on Election Day, within the vicinity of the polling unit.

“That is clearly an electoral offence by which INEC can have the police arrest such a person. But, outside that vicinity, if someone goes to another’s house to visit or to give him something, it is not an issue #INEC can intervene on,” he said.

Source: #Punch