Save our Democracy: Annul Ekiti election, prosecute APC, PDP candidates and others

Save our Democracy: Annul Ekiti election, prosecute APC, PDP candidates and others

Reverend Father Godswill Agbagwa

Founder, CSAAE

Though democracy may not be the best form of government, there is none yet better than it. The beauty of democracy is that people can freely choose whoever they want to lead them. While we want to see the best elected to lead us, we must respect the will of the people expressed through the ballot. To me, this is sacred and cannot be tampered with.

Sadly, the videos and reports coming from Ekiti show that political parties were paying people to vote for their candidates. Ekiti votes were literarily on sale for the highest bidder. Party officials and even security agents, I hear, were also involved in the buying and selling of votes at Ekiti.

This did not happen in the dark and there are evidences that people were even given advance payment to vote for certain candidates and received the balance when they showed that they indeed voted for such candidates. Follow link to watch video of agents of political parties buying votes. https://www.pulse.ng/news/politics/video-exposes-party-agent-allegedly-bribing-voters-in-ekiti-id8616839.html. See also Leadership Newspaper: https://leadership.ng/2018/07/15/ekiti-guber-coalition-of-observers-reject-results-to-release-findings-wednesday/

This is a despicable electoral offense that seriously threatens our already battered democracy. It does not matter whether it has happened in the past or not. For us to make progress and save our democracy, INEC should consider annulling Ekiti governorship election. The Government should also arrest the candidates that offered money to the voters and prosecute them for paying money to obtain votes. This would send a strong message to politicians that they cannot offer money in exchange for votes. One can argue that voters should not accept money from politicians and I agree, but there would be no money to accept if politicians do not offer any. The Government must come down very tough on politicians who bribe voters to vote for them if they are serious about fighting corruption because this is the worst form of corruption.  

According to the Nigerian Electoral Act updated on January 31, 2017, receiving or giving money for voting is a serious offense and carries up to 12 months in prison or five hundred thousand naira fine or both. See link for all electoral offenses in Nigeria: http://www.inecnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads//2013/09/ELECTORAL-OFFENCES-AND-PENALTIES-latest.pdf