THE recently concluded bye elections in Bauchi, Kastina and Kogi states, like the July 14 Ekiti Governorship election have presented a new challenge for the electoral process – vote buying.
THE election has brought to the fore that, electorate have turned their votes to commodities of trade and boldly struck deals with political parties agents willing to pay the highest price in the presence of law enforcement officers.
THE issue is not new. Vote buying has always been part of Nigeria’s political process, albeit discretely.
EXPERTS are of the opinion that political parties in the past often tried to bribe voters with gifts, such as food items and clothing materials during electioneering campaigns.
THE closest thing to election day vote buying is what happens at party primary elections and conventions during which delegates are bribed at the venue to vote for the highest bidder.
ATTENTION has always been on how to address institutional failures, such as ineffective resource management, poor preparations, collusion among politicians and election officials to cheat as well as electoral violence without looking at the issue of vote buying on election days.
THE general consensus is that the desire of voters to sell their votes could be attributed to poverty and the lack of trust between the electorate and the politicians.
THERE is no denying the fact that vote buying is a crime, but people are willing to sell their votes because they have lost trust in government.
THIS portends a great danger, not only to our electoral process, but also to democracy as a whole.
IT will simply mean that the choice of leadership will no longer be on the basis of programmes or party manifestos but rather, the highest bidder on election days, no matter how incompetent.
VOTE buying is an electoral offence which could undermine the legitimacy of elections and weaken representative democracy.
THIS kind of cash-for-vote practice makes a mockery of our democracy and INEC must stop the trend before the next general elections in 2019.
THE extent and “brazenness” of the practice raised concerns that elections were being “monetised with impunity”.
THIS trend portends grave danger to Nigeria’s democracy, as it undermines the responsibility of citizens to freely choose their leaders and threatens the essence of democracy.
WE observe that the lack of enforcement of punishments for the electoral offence had allowed the practice to persist and unchecked.
IT is regrettable that the election budget was heavily centred on the provision of security with no attention given to citizen education.
THE citizens must be re-oriented to appreciate the consequences of selling their votes. They should be educated that votes selling is as good as mortgaging their future to such office holder and that he/ she would not be accountable for he has paid for the services you rendered to him.
WE call for stakeholders’ engagement to address the issues around the electoral process.
WE are of the position that politicians should be educated on the need to ensuring a credible election. It is unfortunate to note that, we complain so much about INEC but turned a blind eye to activities of the politicians .
WE need to talk about them because they are the major problem of Nigeria’s democracy.