Preparatory to the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has engaged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to assist it in tracking political parties’ sources of funding.

Professor Yakubu, Chairman of INEC stated this on Thursday in Abuja when he received the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, at the commission’s headquarters.

Yakubu also enjoined the EFCC to assist the electoral body to curb the spate of open vote buying by politicians and the political parties at polling stations during elections.

The INEC boss said: “As we approach the 2019 general elections, Mr. Chairman, we require the support of your commission essentially in two ways.

"One, INEC is worried by the recent trend of open votes buying at polling stations, that candidates and parties storm polling stations with sacks and sacks of money to induce voters. Votes of citizens and only votes of citizens should determine who wins in an election.

“Our democracy must never be on sale at the open market! It is the will of the people that should determine who wins. Therefore, Mr. Chairman, we look forward to be working very closely with the EFCC to ensure that open vote buying will not be tolerated by the commission.

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“And we don’t want the 2019 general elections to be determined by the amount of money people have and they can go round on election day to buy people’s vote. It is the right of Nigerians to vote for whoever, and that right must be upheld by INEC.

“And the second area is again relating to finances‎. This time around it is about party and campaign finance. The Electoral Act places limit as to the amount parties and individuals can spend on elections, and also the amount that friends of candidates and parties can contribute in any election.

“We will like the EFCC, with both the mandate and the capacity to track and trace sources of fund to work very closely with us so that we can operate within the limit of the law. Our democracy can never be on sale and it must never be on the open marker, and I believe that by working very closely with the EFCC we can achieve that."

The INEC chairman assured that his commission would remain an unbiased umpire adding that INEC “will not work for any candidate or party, we will not work against any candidate or party. We are here to work for Nigerian people.”

Magu, in his remarks, said the anti-graft agency would collaborate with INEC.

“I am prepared to collaborate and support whenever our services are needed. We are ready to support INEC. We are all Nigerians and all of us need to collaborate to fight corruption. It is affecting all of us. People have to run out of this country to escape the evil of corruption,” he said.

“Corruption is a disaster. It has done too much damage to this country. INEC is also fighting corruption, maybe not in the way I am doing it.

“When you tell Nigerians to register and vote, it is a way of fighting corruption,” Magu said.

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