Against all odds, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was able to conduct elections in Edo and Ondo States respectively considering the new normal of social distancing.
However, these two gubernatorial elections was an eye-opener to electoral observers, informed citizens and the populace that the people you fail to give proper political education may be an obstacle to achieving a consolidated democracy and even sustainable development.
Evidently, vote-buying is becoming increasingly difficult to tackle in Nigeria. Beyond reasonable doubt, vote buying affects the credibility of free and fair election. We can’t say an election is free or fair when people are going back forth to sell their conscience with impunity.
In recent times, so many people have argued that poverty and hunger are the major triggers of vote buying in Nigeria. But could this be a reasonable justification for this? Truth be told, no political party is free from the guilt of vote buying in Nigeria.
However, we don’t need a prophet to tell us the consequences of this menace, definitely, someone that pays you so you could vote for him or her would definitely do everything possible to have his or her money back when he or she wins.
Arguably, politicians in Nigeria are known for fighting for their selfish interests with little concern for humanity. With no doubt, vote buying will continue to be a bane of democratic system. If the funds being distributed during elections had been channeled to human capital investment and other sectors, obviously our states wouldn’t be the way they are today.
It becomes necessary to constantly remind ourselves of the dire consequences of vote buying. The bitter truth is that the entire society and even generations to come will definitely bear the brunt of vote buying.
As a matter of urgency, there is need for interconnected activities of private individuals, religious institutions, non-governmental organisations, civil societies and other advocacy groups to collectively work towards the reorientation of the Nigerian populace on the menace of vote buying.
In a bid to have a consolidated democracy and sustainable development, the menace of vote buying must be religiously dealt with; moreso, the time to shape our political culture and socialisation is now.
Ishola Akinwale Victor,
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