The Provost, Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), Prof. Sola Akinrinade, says the academy will support Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in creating environment for credible elections in the country.
Akinrinade said this at a news briefing in Abuja on Thursday, in preparation of ACAN’s 1st Anti-Corruption Policy Dialogue Series.
The theme for the event which is billed for Tuesday, at the Academy in Keffi, Nasarawa State, is “Eradicating Electoral Policy Dialogue”, with focus on vote-buying.
ACAN is the research and training arm of Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Akinrinade said that the programme would entail drawing up policy briefs that would create a culture where elections would be the true reflection of the will of the people.
“We are aiming at a situation where people’s vote will not be influenced by extraneous factors that are not critical to their lives.
“The truth is that we are all living witnesses to the various challenges associated with the conduct of election in the country.
“It is almost an open knowledge that vote-buying is a phenomenon that has been prevalent since the return of democracy to the country in 1999,” he said.
According to him, this has been distorting the outcome of elections in the country because the true preferences of the people were never really reflected when vote-buying took over the process.
“These are things we need to begin to ask ourselves; what really should be defined as vote-buying, and what legitimate electoral empowerment is.
“There are some engagements that politicians are engaging in that are legitimate, but we need to get to the stage where we need to define what truly constitutes vote-buying in the process’’ and when it influenced voters.
Akinrinade also said that the dialogue on eradicating electoral corruption with focus on vote-buying was very apt at this critical point of Nigeria’s democracy.
“While the 2019 elections have been conducted, the matters associated with them will continue to reverberate until the next elections in 2023”.
He added that the regular contestation of the outcome of elections was a pointer to the need to address foundational issues relating to them.