By Mary Agidi
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has been advised to allow free and fair elections in 2019 as witnessed election that produced President Muhammadu Buhari.
A US-based Nigerian Doctor, Toyin Abitoye, gave this advice in an interview with The Hope .
Abitoye a member of PDP said, INEC received more praises than condemnation in the last general elections, and should therefore endeavor to improve on the legacy.
“Every institution should have the mandate to improve on itself. Therefore I hope INEC will conduct a better election this time. With what happened in Ekiti and Osun, the issue of vote buying going unchecked, honestly am not confident they will do a good job.
“But one needs to be optimistic. Whatever INEC leadership does in 2019 will be their legacy as individuals forever, whether they like it or not.
“History is usually forever kind to those that do the right thing. I hope they do the right thing in 2019” , he said.
He also called on Nigerians to be more active in the political processes by trooping out enmasse to vote and ensure their votes count.
He noted that, for the process of democracy to actually develop, the electorate must have independent mind, and be able to make an informed decision to vote-in the right candidates at all levels.
His words: “They should be enlightened enough to shrug off financial inducements and understand that they are in effect selling their birth rights for peanuts for the next four years.
“If I ask to pay for your vote on election day and you agree, you have agreed on a contract that ends after you have cast that vote. As a result, what moral authority does the electorate have to question the politicians thereafter if they win and stay in office for four years?
“Honestly if I am in those shoes, and I really need the money, I will take it and vote the other candidate just to prove a point to myself. At least I know I voted my conscience and I didn’t sell the conscience.
Abitoye however expressed disappointment on how politics is being played in Nigeria, noting that with the look of things, it would be difficult for a lone aspirant to contest without a godfather, which according to him will forever serves as an obstacle to the emergence of right representatives of the people.
According to him, monetisation of votes has taken so many dimensions in Nigeria politics, which includes, money spent towards the welfare of your fellow party men before the primaries, money spent on the delegates for logistics on the day of the primaries, and money spent in the general elections.
“As an aspirant, you pretty much bear the weight of the problems of all party members from the top to the bottom. It has become very expensive. And you are unofficially mandated to provide money towards what is called logistics on the day of the elections for all candidates.