Nigeria Democracy In A Money Induced Polls
Nigeria News takes a look at what may happen in the 2019 election, following the Ekiti scenario.
Our president, Mr Muhammadu Buhari may need to know that the victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Ekiti State governorship election was not achieved by the integrity of the party or its candidate.
The election, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission and many of the observers was peaceful, free and fair. It was peaceful because there was no clash. To INEC, it was fair because there was no snatching of ballot boxes.
But it is obvious that many of the electorates voted against their conscience. They were induced with money by the major political parties in the election.
This is what President Buhari cannot control. It is a limit to his integrity and this will definitely happen in 2019 as he seeks to return to power.
Both APC and the Peoples Democratic Party outwardly paid between N3, 000 and N5, 000 to every voter to get results on Saturday.
A nonagenarian grandmother came to the polling unit with her national identity card but was not allowed to vote. The woman had no voter’s card but the national identity card. She had collected N3, 000 from one of the political parties.
At the polling booth, the old woman was asked to go back home and enjoy her N3, 000 windfall. The desperation by both parties to win the election pushed them to do house to house campaign where they paid every voter.
The bigger the pay, the better the chance. The electorates have learnt their lessons that the only thing that belongs to them is what they can take from the candidates before an election.
What happened in Ekiti will repeat itself in 2019, no doubt. Nigerian masses are poor, they are not well educated and will be ready to drop their integrity to feed their stomach.
The fair election looks like a tall order in a society that is permeated with poverty and lack. And if one should measure integrity with the way the Ekiti election went on Saturday, it was zero for the two popular parties, APC and PDP.
To me, this country has a long way to go, because if the elections that will bring our leaders to power are marred with cash incentives, then wither the dignity we are talking about.
Will President Buhari stop his campaign organization from inducing the poor masses in 2019? He will be doing so at his own peril.
This anomaly is not limited to one party, all of them do to get to power. And the first thing they do after clinching power is to recoup all that they have spent during the election.
Another thing is that the incumbent government usually spends the state funds to retain power while the opposition party sources for funds elsewhere. Either way, much of the monies are looted funds.
The electorates, on the other hand, do not believe in the party’s manifestos anymore, it is about how much the political parties are ready to share at the polls.