HEDA Resource Centre and Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre (WARDC) have issued a stern warning to electorates regarding trading their votes in exchange for gratification.
At a pre-election press briefing in Oshogbo, the groups called on security agencies, INEC and other relevant stakeholders to save Nigeria from democracy assassination being perpetuated by desperadoes across divide.
Olanrewaju Suraju, chairman of HEDA, said, “We are calling on the well-meaning people of Osun State (electorates) in the governorship election tomorrow to shun the criminal act of selling their votes.
“We urge the electorates to come out en-masse to cast their votes and be part of selecting their own leader for the next four years through a credible electoral process. This God-given right should be honoured and not traded. It is not a commodity to sell, but a right to be exercised. Selling vote is criminal, casting it is the ideal,”
Suraju maintained that Vote Buying is done more in secrecy, hence the need to shine the spotlight and preach the homily to the two key stakeholders in the criminal act of vote-buying – that is the vote sellers (electorates) and the vote buyers (political parties and their agents). We commend the role of EFCC during the recently conducted Ekiti Election.
“The implication of vote-buying is far reaching – it makes difficult calling leaders to account since they paid their ways to the position occupied and beyond that, it affects the economy and living conditions as leaders would have no moral obligation to make life better for the citizens,”
The anti-corruption crusader added that the issue of vote-buying remains about the biggest threat to a credible election in Nigeria and it remains a leading cause for concern as the Country edges close to the 2023 General Elections.
“You must be resolute and vote conscientiously regardless of the potentials for inducement which will be tantamount to selling their future and that of their children for immediate gains, a situation which will obviously result in an even worse socio-economic situation than they currently have,” Suraju added.
On her part, the Executive Director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiode-Afolabi, stressed that Osun State tomorrow will be yet another test for Nigeria’s democratic consolidation and its fidelity to laws and rules guiding the electoral process.