Ahead of the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections across the country, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has appealed to electorate and politicians in the country to shun vote selling and buying in order to give credibility the nation’s democracy .
The Kogi State Director of NOA, Mohammed Othman Abdullahi who made the appeal yesterday in Lokoja during the voter education campaign against vote buying and selling in the 2019 general elections, lamented that the act has gone viral in the nation’s democracy, saying such practice is capable of discredit the credibility and acceptability of our elections.
According to him “Vote buying was widely observed and reported during the just concluded elections as well as the political party’s primaries that was held in the country. Event in recent time have also shown very clearly that some politicians have taken vote buying to a higher level with reckless abandonmnet .
“This development is sad as it is capable of hampering and hurting the growth and development of democracy in the country in the library g run. It is unfortunate that party manifestoes and integrity of candidates contesting for political offices are no longer convincing enough to guarantee their electoral success and have resorted to vote buying
While describing the willingness on the part of the electorate to sell their votes to the highest bidder as worrisome, the NOA State Director pointed out that politics of vote buying can be counter productive as it poses threat to the conduct of free and fair election in the country.
“Vote buying can lead to rigging of elections and other malpractice. It can equally drive up the cost of elections for political parties and their candidates, and as well hindered credible person from contesting in an election.
“Most importantly it can also breeds cynicism among voters who feel disenfranchised by a corrupt system that fails to adhere democratic values.
“Other negative effects of voters buying are deprivation of political and gender equality, undeserving leaders and limited attention to service delivery once elected into political officea” he said.
He frawn that the electoral act, 2010 provided sanctions for those who sell and buy votes, regretted that the provision was not taken seriously and enforced.
Abdullahi therefore, appealed to security agents and INEC officials not to condone vote buying, stressing that as they have a vital roles to play in ensuring free, fair and credible election in the country.
He charged the commission to ensure that anyone who sell or buy votes in future election is prosecuted and punished because of its consequences.
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