The menace of vote-buying

Another general elections are around the corner, the seventh since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1999.
It is now less than 100 days before polling units open at 8:30am on Saturday, February 25, 2023 for national elections (presidential and National Assembly) and two weeks later on Saturday, March 11, 2023, for state elections (governorship and state houses of assembly).

An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office(s). It is also a form of choosing representatives; a method of choosing leaders where the citizens have right to vote and be voted for.

Vote buying occurs when a political party or candidate distributes money or resources to a voter in an election in exchange for vote. This practice is often used to incentivise or persuade voter turn out in elections and to vote in a particular way.

Investigations have revealed that the target of vote buying is on the people of lower income status. Selling your vote is the same as selling your right.
Vote buying and selling have wreaked a lot of havoc on Nigeria’s electoral process and the development of the country.

In fact, it has contributed in stifling the development of our country. It also also largely responsible for the emergence of bad political office holders who are fraudulent and unproductive.

Vote buying and selling are illegal as the act contravenes the Electoral Act. The act is a criminal offence that should be discouraged by all patriotic Nigerians.

The security agencies including the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the police, Civil Defence Corps, etc, saddled with the responsibility of checking the menace should up their game in order to stem vote buying because it is inimical to our democracy.

Vote buying in a democratic state like Nigeria poses a great threat to democracy. It also undermines voter autonomy.
On this note, Nigerians should realise that vote buying is detrimental to the development of the country and shun it.
Finally, I urge the media to condemn vote buying. They should sensitise Nigerians about the evils of vote buying and why it should be discarded.

Muhammad Tukur Muazu,
Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri,
Maiduguri, Borno state