OPINION: Vote Buying During Election: A Shame on Nigeria’s Democratic Process
The obvious outcome of vote buying is that it is gradually becoming the bane of democracy in Nigeria. For a democratic nation, the electorates are slowly losing their voting power by exchanging it for money and other material things. And by so doing, there is a big distortion and hindrance to the idea of a free and fair election that ensures that the electorates elect the leaders they deem fit to rule them.
Since parties have begun buying their ways into victories, people are beginning to find their voting power useless and are instead trading it for material things. Not only are they seeing it as a means to gain money or other things of monetary value, some are referring to it as a means to also eat in the national cake that politicians are enjoying.
The rampant spread of vote buying is acting as a catalyst for the destruction and death of democracy in the country and also acting as a hindrance to the possibilities of good governance in the country. Political parties that can’t provide capable candidates that can govern the country but can afford to buy votes are now using this means as a way to buy their candidates into power. The obvious outcome is that there is the highest possibility those position falls into the wrong hands.
As a result of vote buying, the electoral process has become very expensive. Candidates now think that without money and their ability to pay their way into people’s hearts one way or the other, they wouldn’t win elections. As a result of this, candidates that are likely to succeed at governing the country give up on the thought before they even try. For candidates that can afford the monetary implications of contesting for a political position, they get into power and see it as a means to get the money they lost during the electoral process and in the process, they forget to do what they have been elected into power to do.
For a country whose citizens have been chanting “we want change”, vote buying has been acting as a veil that is blocking their eyes from reality. They are only seeing a means of gaining money and being blinded to the outcome of the choice they make regarding who they elect into power. How do we expect change to occur when you’ve traded in your power to bring in change for money? How can change happen if money has made you give power to the wrong person? It is high time we change our mentalily towards election and develop a true democratic process.