Vote Buying: INEC to ban Politicians for lifeJuly 20, 2022 0 By
AKWA Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Mr Mike Igini, has proposed a life ban for any politician or political parties caught in the act of vote buying.
Incidents of vote-buying and selling marred last month’s Ekiti governorship and last Saturday’s Osun governorship polls.
Making the proposal, yesterday, Igini, who spoke on Channels Television programme, ‘Morning Rise’ said “the menace of vote buying has assumed the level of an epidemic and it is the greatest thing that we need to deal with.”
His words: “Vote buying has become a problem and it will have huge implications if we don’t stop it now. The first implication of vote buying is that is going to remove performance politics because the opportunity is that when an incumbent has performed, in the next election he should be rewarded on account of performance. But if vote buying is not dealt with right away, there will be no performance anymore because all you need do is to keep money somewhere to buy vote.
“Secondly, vote buying if not stopped, reinforces inequality in the society because it would be the case of only the rich and the wealthy. It will also lead to what is called class bias policies. When you allow vote buying to thrive, you are going to flood the society with inequality of public franchise.
“Nigeria is not the only country that has experienced vote buying. Some of the notorious countries you see today like the United Kingdom, United State of secret balloting to deal with the issue of vote buying. “There was resistance in England that only embraced it in 1872. America that was very notorious only embraced it in 1892.
The point is what they do in England is my prescription to the National Assembly. When it became a problem in England, in Stanford $5000 was used to purchase 850 votes out of 1000 registered voters. In 1872 they came up with a Ballot Act. That is what I am asking the National Assemble to do so that they would continue to be remembered for having this profound Electoral Act we are having today. Today, in England, if you are caught buying votes through your party campaigner or influencer, or campaign manager and it is traceable to you, first you are banned from participating in that election and your political party for six years. Then if you repeat that again, you could be banned for life.
“The entire sections 114 to 129 under Part 7 of the 2022 Electoral Act clearly identify acts, and conducts that are considered as anathema that are totally prohibited. In particular, Section 1subsection 21 of the 2022 Electoral Act prohibits the act of buying and selling of votes. This is because a vote is a public good. It’s a citizen’s share of a public franchise. It must not be sold, it must not be bought, in fact, we must stand tall in defence of our democracy and the rule of law.”