From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Nigerian Diaspora Organisation Americas (NIDOA) and the Nigeria Diaspora Network (NDN) have called on Nigerian youths to desist from vote buying.
The call was made by participants at a virtual meeting organised by the two groups.
Some of the panelists, who spoke at the 2nd edition of the zoom meeting Saturday night, said that the act of vote buying had done more evil than good in the country’s political system.
The Chairman, NIDOA/NDN Planning Committee, Mr Sam Atolaiye, said the essence of the summit was to bring all Nigerian youth together, motivate them, get them involved and give them a sense of direction to drive transformational impact and positive change in the country.
“Let us ensure we vote right. Let us ask politicians questions on how they want to change things for better and how these will be done.
“Let us vote based on their ( the politicians’) credibility and not on the amount of money they have,” he said.
Mrs Kemi Roland, the chief executive officer of IIIimite Access, described the issue of vote buying as “an hydra-headed problem and a vicious circle.”
According to her, it is the citizens themselves that can decide to liberate themselves, by saying enough is enough.
“Many of the politicians spend money, give voters money to get into office.
“And of course, anybody spending money to get into office, sees it as an investment that must be recouped.
“Therefore, every single time voters collect money from a politician, it means they are mortgaging their future.
According to her, the voters are simply saying that you (politicians) can go away with our roads, you can pocket it; you can go away with our healthcare, you can pocket it, etc.
Roland, who ccntested for an House Assembly seat on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019 in Kogi but lost at the primaries, said voters need to be continuously educated on the need to refrain from vote buying.
“Unfortunately, citizens in Nigeria has been dehumanised so badly for so many years that it is going to take a lot of time to get this done.
“But I believe it can be done and until that is done, we may never see any difference in our political landscape.
“So we need to continue to educate voters that they are the ones that can break this vicious cycle,” she said.
Comrade Abdulrahman Bapullo, Chairman, Nigerian Youth Congress, Adamwa, frowned at the increasing rate of vote buying in the country’s electioneering process.
Bapullo also expressed concern about the negative effect of money politics in Nigerian democracy.
He said he was a victim of money politics and godfatherism when he vied for a seat in the Adamawa State House of Assembly election in 2019 but could not get the ticket.
He said to fight against money politics, people with good intention about Nigeria must be ready to get involved in the political process.
“And you cannot get in the political process without having the platform which is the political parties.
“But our problem in Nigeria today is the party system; internal democracy is one of our major problems that is stopping the country from providing the best of leaders that will take the country forward.