‘Weak institutions responsible for political corruption’
This was the core of an elections debriefing on vote buying, voters’ inducement and other forms of manifestations of political corruption organised by Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) in collaboration with Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), Election Observation Platform (EOP) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) in Abuja.
It was part of the Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) drive.
“Voters are being disempowered to give their votes in exchange of money and other material needs. In the 2019 elections, the electorate merely lost their voting power which distorted the entire concept of free and fair elections, as political victory was on sale in broad daylight,” said the chairperson of TMG and founding director of WARDC, Dr. Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode.
Former deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan and Chairman, EOP, Prof. Adigun Agbaje, however stressed that the India and Chanchaga in Niger State experiences show that poverty doesn’t determine people’s actions all the time. “The poorest of people are in India and their government has been stable since 1963,” he explained.
Very weak institutions and inappropriate values of the elite, which are not supportive of democracy, have given impunity a lot of prominence both in their public and private lives. “We need to mobilise as communities and civil society to create a new path. We should press forward with alternative agenda, focus our energy on citizen constructive platforms to have a new Nigeria.”
With more women involved in the electoral process and still remain the minority in candidacy, vice chairman of TMG, Anya Okeke, noted that the eight national assembly had only one woman from the north, which shows non-inclusion of women in political conversations. “It is time for women to stand up and speak out for their cause.”
Founder, Emerge Women, Mary Ikoku, said that “if women do all the work of mobilisation to vote and we don’t have the paltry sum to buy votes, then we fall back to our zero state.”