TOWARDS 2019 ELECTION: CURBING THE MENACE OF VOTE BUYING
By: Abiodun Jamiu
Thierry Uwamahoro, a senior program officer with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), once said, “Vote buying is rarely an isolated action, and it perpetuates corruption throughout the entire political system. When a candidate chooses to pay for support, rather than compete fairly for votes, they show a disregard for democratic norms and a willingness to use illegal means”
The above assertion clearly depicts the happenings in our political landscape where politicians and/or candidates with money trees deeply grounded at his backyard bypass and deter aspiring politicians with shallow wallet from participating in election, rooting the belief that money, rather than ideas or experiences, is the “surebet” to winning election.
Vote buying occurs when a political party or candidate seeks to buy the vote of a voter ahead of the election. Vote buying can take various forms such as a monetary exchange, as well as an exchange for necessary goods or services (Wikipedia).
Apart from drawing the electoral process into a cesspit of soiled sewage, vote buying obstructs the democratic process by interfering with citizen’s rights to freely decide the candidate who will represent them and their interest. For instance, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s landslide victory at the national convention of the PDP held in portharcout, River state was simply dump-founding, as the man just made a spicy meat of his fellow contestants. He indisputably became the choice of the delegates to fly the PDP flag at the coming presidential election owing to his belief in the power of money—to buy his way out of any nerve-racking situation, which actually pay off handy.
Without being economical with words, electioneering window in the country has always witnessed a grandeur display of wealth, with politicians portraying what Falz in his latest single ‘Talk’ described as “Four years tenure, three years holiday”, vote buying rears its ugly head, stealing a dubious rub on not only the electoral system but also in every day polity. Vote buying husbands poor governance and undercuts citizens’ ability to hold their elected officials accountable. If a candidate believes all they need to do to be elected is to pay-off voters, then the country is deeply drown in the blue sea of corruption which will adversely lead to under-development .
We have left our pot unwatched, and our foods now burn. On the spur of the moments, we suffer much; we die. But until the rotten tooth is pulled, the mouth must chew with caution. Proffering a holistic approach towards curbing the mess and menses that could compromise the transparency, peacefulness and credibility of the coming elections is an all responsibility.
On a plane note, orientation is the key to encourage a long term confidence and adaptation, Staging a campaign against the deadly menace can as well guard and ground the electorates into knowing the deceptive antics of vote buying, and as well stand the general populace on a safer stance, while sending the cankerworm on a journey of no-return.
Similarly, as it’s widely believed, a lawless polity is a sin-free society. Sliting the truth by the throat, the menace is killing young energetic and qualified candidates who are economically disadvantaged, it damages such candidate credibility and robbed the country of versatile ideas that could put the country into the frontier of development. It is a factual matter of national interest. A thief has no other sobriquet than thief. Vote buying is corruption, and should be treated as such. I am wondering if the EFCC should not be journeyed into this menace to serve as lasting deterrent to unscrupulous and morally retarded peddlers of corruption.
To this end, to resign to fate while one’s roof is on fire is to be crippled fast – it is madness, to say, Countering the effect of the corruptible menace should be held on a solid phalanx. The conduct of a transparent, peaceful and credible election in the country is a pride for the whole continent, and as well a step ahead, for democratic principles – rule of law, franchise, human rights etc