By Theresa Egba
AS the 2019 general elections draw closer and politicking continues an international humanitarian organization that promotes good governance, ActionAid Nigeria, at the weekend, urged women to shun vote buying.
This was stated by the Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, while speaking against the practice and said it is not healthy for democracy in the country to thrive.
Obi also described vote selling and buying as criminal and punishable offence that should be stamped out with all aggressiveness by the society, because it subjects the conscience of the seller and buyer into bondage and inhuman behavior not good for national development.
She said: “Vote buying has implications for the future. Politicians who buy votes, citizens need to ask themselves, where do they get the money from? Majority of them look at it as an investment, which they will get back, and what that means is many new office holders will then focus on recovering what they have spent than on services to citizens. Many of them avoid paying salaries for months which is sin against humanity.
“Citizens must grow out of this selling of souls to better quality citizenship. Every citizen including women and young people has a duty to uphold Nigeria. ActionAid is calling on Nigerians to reject vote selling and buying. They need to re-value themselves and know that they are not for sale, and Nigeria is not for sale.
“Vote buying is institutionalizing corruption and must be stopped as it mortgages our lives. Vote buying should be punished by law. It has to be treated as a criminal offense with high sanction. We advocate for transparency and accountability by every politician and ask the Government to bring about laws against vote buying.”
She also task the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to do more in delivering credible elections to Nigerians come 2019 general elections, and also urged security agents to remain apolitical before, during and after the elections.
“Security agents are citizens of this great country, many of them did well in the Osun election and can do more. They also need to know that we are citizens and looking at the future of our children and generations. We must all work together to uphold the Law. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, really tried but can do more. The citizens also need to help INEC by playing their part”, she added.
According to her on how the electoral process will basically improve squarely lies on voters and are expected to question sources of finances of politicians who induce voters with money and reject it.
“There is need to recall the conscience of humanity in the land. The politicians are politicians; Nigerians need to question election financing. More public education from INEC, National Orientation Agency, NOA, and all Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, along with development partners, should help sensitise citizens across the country on the need to reject vote buying. Nigeria will be great again”, she asserted.