To contest for elections in Nigeria involves huge amounts of funds. These funds are not the pre-election processes such as campaigns, transportation from one ward to another, printouts etc but also for the Election Day itself. On Election Day, you see the electorate actually looking forward to these monies to be shared. In the just concluded elections in Ondo State, money exchanged hands in order to sway people’s decisions. Such an act is called Vote Buying.
In the Ondo election, the news was on air about how rampant it was. Party officials were buying votes for between N5000 - N10000. In the 80s and 90s, monies were concealed inside and distributed to voters. The two major culprits of these activities are the politicians and the voters. It is so surprising that in the general elections you will find sitting governors, local government chairmen involved in vote buying. There were claims that some people who collected money from parties in the Edo state elections held last month but still went ahead to vote who they wanted. Why buy votes if your good works will speak for you? The Edo state election that gave Godwin Obaseki his second term in office revealed something. It revealed what the people wanted. It was beyond party structures but the man Obaseki. He had done well in his first term and the people wanted continuity. It was so glaring that even if Obaseki had contested under an unknown party, he would have won.
There were claims of vote buying in some areas in the Edo election. According to the claims monies were collected but the people still voted for their man. Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu was a better politician but Obaseki took the day because he had good works. Nigerian politics should grow beyond bribing people to vote for you as a politician. It is a big shame for incumbent governors indulging in vote buying. Those seeking for second term should learn from Obaseki’s victory. The country is fast becoming wiser. The electorates now know that with their numbers they can bring who they want. With the upgrades in technology and social media sensitization, a lot of these politicians will have no other choice than to focus on development to come back.
As for those who sell their votes, they are doing themselves more harm than good. Selling your vote gives the aspirant when he wins the opportunity not to do anything as he will want to recoup his funds. To most of them, they have paid you off. If that is the case, it will be better to give them a good run for their money. Let them buy the votes for nothing less than a million naira and see if they will survive it.
Vote buying is dangerous to the soul of any country. Desist from selling and buying of votes.