Examining Alleged Vote Buying in Ekiti Governorship Election

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Examining Alleged Vote Buying in Ekiti Governorship Election

Election is a major feature of democrary. Therefore, it must reflect the will of the electorate through free, fair and credible process.

The July 14, 2018 Ekiti State governorship election had come and gone but the fact remains that the scenario which played out during the
election would continue to linger for quite sometimes.

Before the election, many people believed that the election would be volatile due to hate speeches engaged in by the two major political
actors in the governorship poll, the incumbent Ayodele Fayose of the PDP and Dr Kayode Fayemi of the APC.

Consequently, to forestall the possible breakdown of law and order, the Federal Government deployed thirty thousand policemen, about
twenty thousand officers of the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC,  and other security personnel were on ground.

Also, Independent National Electoral Commission in Ekiti State led by Proffesor Abdul Ganiy Raji employed measures to prevent rigging and
other inadequacies which could affect the outcome of the election and its credibility.

A unique arrangement was the tracking device machine attached to vehicles deploying sensitive materials for the election.

Without mincing words, INEC must be applauded for early arrival of election materials in majority of the polling units.

However, the issue of vote buying during the election has remained a source of worry to concerned Nigerians and the international community
on the credibility of the just concluded governorship election in Ekiti State.

Nigeria’s political terrain is reputed for god fatherism, lack of internal democracy and excessive monetisation and disturbing trend of
vote buying.
According to reports, vote buying in Ekiti governorship election was tagged ‘see and buy’ where both prospective electorate were approached
by party agents.

Reports indicated that political parties which engaged in the act offered gratification ranging from four thousand to ten thousand
naira.

The implication of the vote buying is that, for four thousand naira, a voter  has sold his conscience, a thousand naira for each of the four years
that a new government will be in place.

This is nothing but a tragedy for democracy in the country.

Both domestic and international observers expressed dissatisfaction with the vote buying, but lauded the electoral process.

Electoral Act 2006 as amended and the Criminal Code prohibit vote buying.

Political experts say the trend is dangerous to the nation’s democracy, especially with about two months to the Osun State governorship
election while the 2019 general election is fast approaching.

It is imperative for security personnel to enforce law that prohibits vote buying to serve as a deterrent.

It is unfortunate to note that not significant number of voters were apprehended for vote buying as police report indicated that
twenty-seven  persons were arrested for electoral offences before and during the poll.

Nigerian politicians should stop buying the conscience of the people for selfish purpose while the electorate should stop selling their
vote, bearing in mind that any politician who offers money during election will want to recoup his money when elected into power.

Iyabo Adebisi

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