Electoral Fraud is any form of illegal interferance in the conduct of free and fair elections. Vote Buying and Rigging is one of the most popular forms of electoral fraud in Nigeria. Today, we will discuss vote buyig and how not to fall victim.
Vote buying occurs when a political party or candidate seeks to buy the vote of a voter in an upcoming election. Vote buying can take various forms such as a monetary exchange, as well as an exchange for necessary goods or services.
Obtaining bags of rice and other household goods prior to election is a form of vote buying. Sitting elected leaders also offer early salary and arrears payment as a masked form of vote buying.
In a survey, 58% of Nigerians surveyed at the time of the 2007 election viewed vote buying as immoral. Despite this, when asked if they thought it was wrong to accept rewards or monetary compensation for your vote, 78% said no.
Over time, money has become a major determinant factor in Nigeria’s democracy. The highest bidder emerges winners are voters are none the wiser.
According to Nigeria Electoral Act, 2010, Article 130:
“A person who— (a) corruptly by himself or by any other person at any time after the date of an election has been announced, directly or indirectly gives or provides or pays money to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election; or (b) being a voter, corruptly accepts or takes money or any other inducement during any of the period stated in paragraph (a) of this section, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.”
Enforcing this law has been an uphill task.
According to Open Democracy , Vote Buying usually occurs during voter registration, candidates nomination and campaign and election day.
The only way to not be involved in vote buying is by asking questions and saying no. As women, we have a huge influence on the electoral decisions of everyone around us. This is the main reason why we have to encourage everyone to ask their potential electoral leaders questions about their policies and what they will do if elected to represent. Say no to vote buying.