Corruption, Not In My Country, an anti-corruption and behavioral change advocacy group has condemned politicians in Ekiti State for compromising the integrity of the electoral process with the buying of votes during the just concluded gubernatorial elections held on the 14th of July, 2018.
The group which campaigns against corruption and social vices in Nigeria, an initiative of the Akin Fadeyi Foundation said what happened in Ekiti as monitored by its team and other INEC accredited observers should prick the conscience of all well-meaning Nigerians, and individuals committed to the democratic survival of Nigeria.
While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on the Independent National Electoral Commission, Security Agencies and the political class to be alive to their commitment to strengthen the nation’s democratic process, the Executive Director of the Foundation, Akin Fadeyi added that “Ekiti State elections was blighted and has cast a gloomy, curious and saddening doubts ahead of the 2019 general elections”.
“Mr. President, the news is all over town that money exchanged hands between Ekiti electorates and agents of the two foremost political parties in the Nigeria: The All Progressive Congress (APC) and The People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Votes were sold for prices ranging between #3000 and #5000. The election that should produce a good leader in a state so endowed with intellectual human resources was blighted as it turned out to be a selection of the higher Bidder”.
“The sad incident, well documented by international and local media are in video footages and prints and have become accessible to the whole world. This has placed us on the spotlight as the laughing stock of the global community and has indeed shown how uncommitted we are to advancing and deepening our democratic processes. The barefaced and flagrant abuse of processes, violence-inducing campaign from the political actors in Ekiti, prior to, and during the election is a showcase of a frightening degree of desperation which has become a norm during elections in Nigeria.”
“The desperation exhibited by the Nigerian politicians calls the sincerity of their intentions to serve to questioning. It is a contradiction, that individuals who profess ‘the will to serve’ would partake in acts capable of jeopardizing or causing harm to the people they pledge to serve, and lead.
This desperation to win elections, by all means, and at all costs remain the major factor propelling election violence and malpractices, as well as every other act that undermine free, fair and credible elections. Corrupting the public through financial inducement runs at variance with our campaign against grassroots corruption, it sends wrong signals to the youth and dangerously undermines the values of diligence and hardwork.
President Buhari’s claim to zero tolerance for corruption must reflect in all facets of our national endeavor and this includes the selfless will to consistently adhere to the principles of electoral integrity, shunning of corrupt vices through slush funding of campaigns and ensuring a level playing field for all actors including qualified and credible candidates of independent parties who possess the capacity to lead but are not necessarily moneybags.
Despite the challenges our nation faces at the moment as it prepares to birth another leadership in the forthcoming elections, we at the Not in My Country project wish to state that the just concluded Ekiti election leaves much to be desired. We are embarrassed and taken aback by the recklessness of the political parties, especially the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
We believe that by inducing voters with bribes, they have significantly compromised the integrity of the July 14 gubernatorial election. And this, we reckon, is a set-back to what should have been the gains made during the smooth electoral process that saw the transitioning of power from an incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
“At the AKIN FADEYI FOUNDATION, we shall continue to reinforce our grassroots messages against retail corruption. We shall continue to amplify the dangers in compromised integrity especially as it affects the choice of credible leaders. We shall also reinforce our messages with robust voter education materials and resources. The least government could do is to encourage this nation-building effort, not to frustrate it or send signals that encourage embarrassing, questionable conducts bordering sleaze.
Let this be clear to our politicians and especially to the President: We cannot continue like this as a nation, the serious-minded nations of the world are fast leaving us behind while we still indulge in crass ineptitude, grab-grab-mentality and demonstration of abhorrence for best practices. Nigeria has no time left to embrace decency!
Akin Fadeyi is a Executive Director, Akin Fadeyi Foundation