Former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to activate extant legislations in containing the high incidence of vote buying to save the nation’s democracy.She observed that the menace was essentially a civilian coup in the sense that both the electoral umpire and security agents look helpless while being perpetrated by desperate politicians.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at an event organised by a non-governmental organisation, The Church Must Vote, the erstwhile vice president of the World Bank for Africa warned government that Nigerians would not tolerate the unfortunate development any longer, stating that the political class had done enough damage to the nation. Ezekwesili tasked INEC on a voting arrangement that suffocates the menace, just as she urged the commission to test the few identified cases in court.
She noted: “None of us should be comfortable and watch this happen. There are many dimensions and solutions to vote buying. One of them is to hold INEC to their statutory responsibility of conducting free, fair and transparent elections.
“There is no place in our law that allows the electoral umpire to look away in circumstances that undermine our electoral process. Vote buying is essentially a civilian coup to the extent that the combination of INEC and security apparatus in the country look helpless while that was happening.”The ex-minister implored the citizens to be alive to their civic duties by voting out old and tired politicians whom she said had decided to sleep on Election Day next year.
According to her, it is only through this reinventing of selves that competent people could get to office to build a virile nation.She charged: “Nigerians acting and working together must take the message about the pricelessness of every vote and that everyone has the power to vote his or her choice in any democracy.”
Also speaking, the Overseer, All Christians Fellowship Mission, Rev. William Okoye, noted that some people sell their vote due to hunger and starvation, adding that it was better to endure hunger in the short time for a brighter future, as any hunger that has hope does not kill.To the founder of The Church Must Vote, Ikechukwu Nmor, voting right of every Nigerian is priceless and should not be traded for any amount or thing.