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Did Buhari, Ortom, Orji Kalu Contravene Secret Ballot Rules Showing off their Vote?

Did Buhari, Ortom, Orji Kalu Contravene Secret Ballot Rules Showing off their Vote?

President Mohammedu Buhari was seen in a viral picture showing off his ballot papers after casting his vote in Daura, during the presidential and national assembly elections on Saturday.

Like President Buhari, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Kalu, also posed for a picture with their ballot paper after voting at their respective polling units.

While it was clear whether the trio contravened any rules for showing off their ballot papers as Nigeria practices an open-secret ballot system, checks by our reporter reveal the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 on their action.

According to Section 50 (1) of the Electoral Act of 2022, “(1) Voting at an election under this Act shall be by open secret ballot.

“(2) Subject to section 63 of this Act, voting at an election and transmission of results under this Act shall be in accordance with the procedure determined by the Commission.

“(3) A voter on receiving a ballot paper shall mark it in the manner prescribed by the Commission.

“(4) All ballots at an election under this Act at any polling station shall be deposited in the ballot box in the open view of the public.”

However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in its 2023 general election procedures released, state that voting is by secrecy.

“You will go to the voting cubicle to mark your choice on the ballot paper in secret. Ensure the ink does not smear other parts of the ballot paper to avoid your vote being rejected.

“The ballot paper should be folded vertically. You are not allowed to take photograph of the ballot paper when in the voting cubicle. You will drop the marked ballot paper into the ballot box in full view of all present.

“After casting your vote, you are free to remain 300 metres from the polling area to witness sorting, counting and announcement of result, provided you are orderly and do not disrupt the process.”

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Segun Akinlabi

Media Blogger

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