#RSVP: How Much is Your Vote Worth ahead of #NigeriaDecides2019? -Ishola Adebayo

December 10, 2018

Ahead of Nigeria Decides 2019 polls, active citizens, including local and international civil society groups have begin to raise concerns over financial inducement for votes which characterized the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and more recently in Osun, especially by the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The desperate attempts by the incumbents in both state(s) to retain power at all cost fatally derailed the freedom of the voter, one-man one-vote and the electoral value.

Aside cash inducement in Ekiti, some politicians were also alleged to have influenced voters with gift items such as television set, phones, food stuffs, recharge cards, more embracing is the polarization of the trader moni initiative by the Federal Government in Osun during the build up to the election.

The PDP in Ekiti was said to have allegedly deposited the sum of N4, 000 into the personal accounts of all serving and retired civil servants (pensioners) in the state, as part of its ‘stomach infrastructure’ strategy. In Osun, the state government allegedly gave cash ranging from N3, 000 to N5, 000 to anyone with a Permanent Voter Card (PVC) in different locations across the state, ward by ward.

In the build up to the elections, each party tried to outdo each other through campaign strategies in an attempt to ensure victory for their candidate. The parties were said to have nicknamed the vote buying strategies in different tags such as “as agreed” and “see and buy.” The APC government wants to win elections at all cost; the Ekiti and Osun elections leave little to be desired. There was reckless buying of votes, deployment of security agents, use of religion; this is totally unacceptable, every right thinking Nigerians should condemn this rampaging scourge in our polity. Desperate politicians should not push the button too hard ahead of the 2019 general elections in the country.

So, as a Nigerian citizen, when next a political aspirant comes asking for your vote, tell them there are communities in your state that lack access to health care and ask about their evidence-based plans to provide for them. Tell them that families are thrown into poverty over high out of pocket payments for their children school fees and ask them what their plans are to remedy this. Tell them about that family member who died because of the deplorable road network to the general hospitals which has been left to rot away and ask them how they plan to bring that help to you. Tell them about your hospitals where there is no power, no water and inadequate equipment. Tell them about your brothers and sisters who have been denied quality and affordable university education due to the incessant strike actions by varsity workers and ask them how they plan to tackle strike action.

Ask them how they are going to change these things. Remind them that your vote is your voice and that you plan to vote for a new order in 2019.