In an attempt to curb the menace of voting buying and selling in Nigeria’s political context which is increasingly promoting Money-Bag politics and bad Governance in the Democratic era, the Justice, Development and Peace Makers’ Centre of Osogbo (JDPMC) has called for serious sanctions against any erring political party to this sacred law that stipulates the specific amount to be spent on electioneering Campaign.
This recommendation came to a fore at the Press Conference and Public Presentation of Report on Campaign Finance Monitoring Project Findings by the Justice, development and Peace Makers’ Centre.
A project targeted at tracking Political Parties and candidates’ Expenditures in the 2020 Edo and Ondo States Gubernatorial Elections to know how much they have adhered to the spending limits as stipulated by the Electoral Acts 2010, more importantly, to monitor the use of state Administrative Resources of some Political Parties as well as vote buying at the elections.
While making compare and contrast of what obtainable in the previous years and operational in 2020 Edo and Ondo Gubernatorial Elections, the General Coordinator of the JDPMC, Rev.Fr. Peter Akinkunmi said “there is a sharp rise in the rate at which Contestants bid at vote buying. In Osun 2018, five thousand naira was the highest tracked to have been paid to buy single vote, by 2020 in Ondo, it rose to thirty-five thousand naira per vote which has now led to a reduction in campaign activities and rising interest in vote buying”,
He stressed further that Law enforcement agencies are not equally doing justice to the all matter as they played indifference and turned blind eyes to such any scenrio which they ought to have risen against.
“While enforcement Agents, manage security at polling units, there seems to be consistent ignoring of vote buying as breach of law even within the vicinity of polling units raising questions as to whether they have the will to fight it as an Electoral offence. This is even more obvious when the fact is considered that there has not been anay reaction or response by relevant state Agencies to the contravention of the provisions of the law on Campaign expenses by political parties in the four major elections preceding Edo and Ondo 2020 within the last three years”.
Therefore, Fr. Akinkunmi called for draconian measures that will serve as deterrent to others by criminalizing vote buying with severe prison sentence with no option of fine for those who are found gulity and full fledge of mandate efforcement of the Anti-graft Agencies should also be considered to this effect in order to ensure all round surveillance and checkmating of this Electoral foul.
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