The need for citizens to unite against the dangerous act of vote buying and selling was emphasized by Mma Odi; the general secretary of Alliance for Credible election, during Say No Campaign’s DoroCorruption radio program on Wazobia FM, Abuja, with the convener of Say No Campaign, Ezenwa Nwagwu, despite the fact that it has long existed in Nigerian electoral system.
According to her, some citizens trade their power to make demands for security and welfare, quality health care, constant power supply, good roads, quality education, pipe borne water, in exchange for little sums of money by selling their votes to political aspirants; pointing that these aspirants give all their attention to recouping the money they spent during election, when they are eventually voted into office. This, she opined, is killing our democracy.
Giving credence to what she said, Nwagwu of Say No Campaign added that citizens’ vote is their future, right, obligation and contribution to achieve a better society, hence, induced citizens lack the courage to criticize the government when they fail in fulfilling the campaign promises they made, as a result of the money and gift item they received earlier, which they see as an investment that require returns.
Reacting to the question on if there are existing instruments or laws that can be exploited to fight against inducement of voters by political aspirants, Mma Odi stated that vote buying and selling is a criminal offence, hence, offenders will be arrested, and if found guilty, will be jailed for one year or made to pay a certain amount, depending on the gravity of the offence.
Nwagwu stressed that citizens action will be instrumental to ending the corrupt practice of vote buying and selling because sticking to the tenets of the law will yield little or no result. In his words “if the slogan for every polling unit na WE NO GO SELL, WE NO GO BUY, politicians go know say wahala don come.”
Mma urged Nigerians not to just get their permanent voters’ card, but to also participate in the electoral process by voting candidates they justifiably believe will promote the common good of the citizens and Nigeria as a country without material inducement.