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Vote buying: The buyers, the sellers and the “benefits”


By Seyi Adeniyi

No doubt, the Ekiti State governorship election has come and gone, in which a winner has emerged. Lessons must have been learnt, most especially from the camps of the opposition.

In doing an assessment of the entire process, the first thing to take a look at is the ascendancy of vote buying. I describe it as vote trading, because there’s nothing like vote buying again, what we have is vote trading – Trading is an action or activity of buying and selling goods and services. In this case, politicians are the buyers, while electorates are the sellers.

Electorates are the one selling their votes; selling their future to either good or bad governance for another four years, as policies and programmes of government are capable of bringing either prosperity or poverty to the lives of the electorates who joyfully sold their votes with N10,000 or N5,000, depending on the financial muscle of the buyers (politicians).

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During the first and second republic, there were no cases of vote buying – to my knowledge. All of this infamy started with the present crop of politicians.

The sad aspect of it is that, we are planting firmly in Yoruba land the evil practices of a feudal system. Awolowo’s idea of dividends of democracy is not gathering some friends and loyalists and distributing pepper grinders and sewing machines in the name of dividends of democracy. His free education, health services etc were for all.

Our politicians should stop giving their people fish only on election days but try to teach them how to fish. “Dibo ko sebe”, is evil. Yorubas believe that three generations should not die in poverty, therefore, they will try all they can to break the vicious cycle of poverty in their generation so that poverty will not become a curse for the family. The way and manner the present politicians are doing poverty can never be eradicated from the people they say they are serving.

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To get rid of vote buying in our democracy, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) needs to wake up to its responsibility of educating the populace on why they need to shun money inducement in electing who to be our president or governors. The agency needs to starts campaigning against vote buying.

Also, a law should be promulgated prohibiting distribution of money at the polling unit. It should be regarded as criminal for anyone caught giving out money or engaging in vote buying.

Finally, the elites should get involved in the real politicking. Enough of social media rants and empty analysis. A look at the Ekiti governorship voting pattern shows that the turnout was too low. The percentage of voters who came out to vote stood at 36.74%, this is ridiculously low.

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Seyi Adeniyi, is a publisher and political analyst

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