Less than 72 hours to Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the State of Osun, a group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have challenged the electorate to shun the unpatriotic act of selling their votes to politicians.
The CSOs said the Osun people must rise above immediate financial gains and vote according to their conscience to secure their future in the nation’s political space
The CSOs spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Osogbo on Wednesday ahead of the Saturday’s polls in the State.
In his comments, Coordinator of Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), Mr Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said vote-buying and vote selling obstruct democratic processes and must be resisted.
He said accepting money to vote amounts to selling the individual’s birthright and the destiny of a nation, adding; “As part of our genuine concern for Nigerian’s democracy, we are here to urge Osun voters to shun vote-selling which is gradually eating deep into the political system of the country.”
According to him, “Vote-selling is like selling your birthright as an individual and then our collective future as a nation which is wrong morally and otherwise.
“A lot of our politicians have nothing to offer the people other than money, and that is why we are preaching that people should not sell their future for N5,000.”
Atoye warned that “The consequence of vote buying and selling is like a Tsunami, hurricane and other natural disasters that will eventually destroy all of us, whether rich or poor, if not stopped”
Similarly, the Convener of Concerned Nigerians, Mr Deji Adeyaju, said elections should not be seen as a business transaction between sellers and buyers.
Adeyaju said cases of vote buying and selling witnessed during the Ekiti election should not be tolerated in Osun, especially as the 2019 general elections draw closer, warning that “Nigerians need to understand that a politician who gives them money for their votes today will impoverish them for the next four years because he would want to recoup his money.”
He further stated that “We need to work on people to desist from selling their votes because it is their conscience and future they are trading for peanuts.
“All we want is a society that works for everyone which we all can be proud of at the end of the day instead of mortgaging our future for stipends.”
However, the President of Madmo Concept, a leadership awareness and empowerment initiative, Mr Moses Paul said the electorate, politicians and government all have roles to play in curbing vote buying and selling during elections.
For him, in educating the Nigerian voter on electoral practices, it is important to strengthen relevant institutions to ensure they remain neutral in discharging their duties, stressing that; “Vote buying by politicians should be criminalised to stop the trend in the political system of the country.”
Mr Paul stated that it behooves on the police and other security agencies to be honest and law-abiding as not to aid and abet the unlawful act vote buying in all its forms at polling units.