Beyond choosing a new governor to succeed outgoing Governor Kayode Fayemi, the recent governorship election in Ekiti State was significant in many other ways. It was an opportunity to put the recently amended Electoral Act 2010 into practice.
The transfer of results from voting booths to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s, central servers is the most intriguing part of that amendment, which President Muhammadu Buhari recently signed into law following a protracted wrangling with the National Assembly.
In doing so, the mechanical results collation becomes more of a formality. The previous vote-rigging techniques, such as ballot theft, result fabrication, and protracted result delays, were stopped.
Even hours after the votes closed, the electoral dashboard created by YIAGA Africa and Channels Television indicated the general direction of the outcome. Surprisingly, no reports of violence were found.
However, widespread vote-buying ruined what should have been a smooth process. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, whose agents were assigned to stop vote-buying, claimed that only 15 of the perpetrators of the blatantly purchased and sold election were detained.
Since the beginning of time, money politics have been a component of our electoral culture. However, as seen during the presidential primaries of the two main political parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the trend has changed for the worst.
In order to entice the delegates, politicians had removed the dollar from the system. The primaries were also put up for auction.
We are pleased that the INEC’s efforts to reduce electoral fraud by using technology and reducing human meddling in our electoral administration have produced some encouraging results.
For the upcoming Osun governor’s race as well as the national general elections in February and March 2023, we anticipate that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, or BVAS, will make voter authentication more effective.
More significantly, we need to find new ways to stop vote-buying since it drives up the amount of money politicians spend running for office.
Either the public coffers or individual wallets hold the funds. In any case, the people will suffer greatly. Politicians that buy their way into office won’t feel any responsibility to the public.
They are aware that they can always buy again four years from now.
Politicians in Nigeria have made misrule and poverty weapons to the point where the populace is too starved to refuse a few thousand naira in exchange for their votes. If we continue in this manner, Nigeria will never change.
No politician who sincerely wants to help the populace will spend his hard-earned cash to win over supporters.
Vote-buying needs to be addressed and stopped.