Vote buying, one of the highest forms of corruption ― Dogara

Former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has stated that vote buying remains one of the highest forms of corruption and has left Nigerians in an abusive political relationship.

He said this in a lecture titled, ‘Nigerian Democracy post-1999: Progress, Diversity and National Unity’ delivered at the public lecture, magazine launch and awards event organized by Mupun Youths Association at Zumji events centre, Sabon Bariki, Jos on Saturday, 24th September 2022.

He lamented that undue influence of voters has always existed in different forms all over the world saying, “The recent phenomenon of direct pricing and buying of votes as if in a market square is very disturbing. It is one of the highest forms of corruption.”

The former speaker said that the high prevalence of vote-buying in the electoral system of the country is, without any doubt, of great concern to all Nigerians and members of the global community who truly love democracy.

According to him, “It is disheartening that this absurd phenomenon has assumed alarming proportions in recent times. As citizens, we must not surrender to this criminality as we cannot do so and still expect honour. When political office holders defy the law and corruptly assume office, they will always operate as if they are above the law.”

He said that elections are so attractive that even pretentious democracies lay claim to holding elections just in order to confer some aura of legitimacy on their rule.

“But not all elections are democratic elections. It has been said that for elections to qualify as democratic, they must be competitive, periodic, inclusive and definitive. Free, fair, credible and transparent elections, therefore, are the very basis for translating the consent of the governed into governmental authority. It is democratic elections that have propelled true democracies since the 17th century”, he pointed out.

Dogara stressed that “Indeed, the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy enshrined in our constitution envisages that Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and that sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria, through which government derives its authority, powers and legitimacy.

“Therefore, any form of contrivance by any person or authority to unduly influence the choice of the voter is condemnable as it is patently an assault on this constitutional guarantee,” he stated.

According to him, “As a result, we have been married off to a mob. A mob that rules us by the example of their power not by the power of their example and the dictates of the law. A mob that rules by fear as an inalienable tool rather than by courage. A mob that accepts the status quo rather than challenge it. Mobs don’t grow others, they only destroy others in order to grow themselves.”

He also said that “We follow the mob because we must, not because we are receiving any sense of significance for our own lives from them. Our democracy has stagnated and will sadly remain so until we eliminate all sham elections which have the effect of throwing up the worst of us to lead the best of us.”

He added that “It was within this period that we had one of the worst presidential elections ever conducted in Nigeria in 2007 where even the beneficiary of the process in his honesty openly admitted that the process that brought him into office was flawed.”

He, however, expressed optimism saying, “We are, however, beginning to see some rays of hope with the coming into force of the new electoral law which empowers the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines in voter accreditation and electronic transmission of results.

“If the recently concluded elections in Anambra, Ekiti, Osun and FCT are anything to go by, President Buhari would have succeeded in bequeathing to us a legacy of democratic elections in which votes actually count,” he said.



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