There is a limit to how much right you will exercise over your mobile phone at any election in Nigeria going forward. 

This is because that your phone has of late become a tool that has helped vote buying thrive in Nigeria and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not going to allow this continue. 

No more selling of votes it says.  

In Ekiti governorship election, it was the highest amount takes all, as votes were allegedly sold at will after each voter could show an evidence that he voted for the candidate of the person offering the money.  

Phones were used to take pictures of ballot paper after voting, but INEC wants to prevent that from happening in the forthcoming governorship election in Osun State. 

One measure INEC said it had adopted was to stop voters from using their phones at some point during voting.

After it announced the plan the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemned what it called the banning of the use of mobile phones by voters at polling booths.

Clarifying its statement on the use of phone by voters at polling units, INEC said use of smartphones was not totally banned, but emphasised that the moment a prospective voter entered voting cubicle to cast his or her vote, the use of phone would not be allowed. 

The spokesman for INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, pointed out that 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.

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“After that, the voter can have access to his or her phone.”

Oyekanmi urged Nigerians to disregard any attempt by any individual or group to politicise what was purely a preventive measure.

The Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus had, in a statement by his spokesman, Ike Abonyi on Tuesday in Abuja, alleged that the decision was to perfect rigging formula for the ruling All Progressives (APC).

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He alleged that the INEC decision was also a deliberate plan to kill means of gathering evidence against rigging arrangements.

Aside from using smartphones to take pictures, there were also claims that some agents strategically position themselves to be able to see the party the voter voted for. 

INEC did not state how it planned to ensure party agents do not see ballot papers showed to them tactically by voters.  

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