ICPC, NGO Launch National Campaign Against Vote Buying
A Communiqué Issued at the End of A One-Day National Campaign against Vote Buying and Other Electoral Malpractice in Akwa Ibom State
A one-day national campaign against vote buying and other electoral malpractice in Akwa Ibom State was organized by Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in conjunction with Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) and supported by UK Department for International Development (DFID).
The campaign which was implemented by Anti-Corruption and Transparency Support Initiative (ACTSI) was held on the 13th of December 2018 at Ibom E-Library, Uyo – Akwa Ibom State.
The campaign was designed to sensitize the public against vote buying and other electoral malpractices. The meeting had in attendance participants drawn from Political Parties, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Religious and Traditional institutions, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), the Media, Community Development Associations (CDAs), professional bodies, women and youth leaders in Akwa Ibom State, ICPC Abuja and zonal office and ACTSI.
Highlights: The meeting featured welcome address, remarks and goodwill messages from key stakeholders drawn from Bureau of Political, Legislative and Water Resources, Akwa Ibom State, ICPC, Youth Alive Foundation, Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), NOA, Akwa Ibom State CSOs Forum and the NPF.
A keynote address on The Psychology of Vote Selling and the Implications of Vote Selling in a Democratic Process was delivered by the chairman, Akwa Ibom Traditional Rulers Council HRM (Dr) Edidem Ntoeng UdoEffiong Akpan JP AMB POP represented byHRM Elder (Dr) EdidemEdet Akpan InyangAMB. This was followed by panel discussion and interactive sessions.
The panel discussion and interactions focused on different topics such as: Electioneering Process and Conduct of Elections: International Best Practices; Free, Fair and Credible Elections in a Democratic System: Process and Procedures; the Role of the Media, Civil Society and Other Oversight Agencies in the Conduct of Free, Fair and Credible Elections; Overview of the ICPC Act 2000 and the Electoral Act 2010. Stakeholders at the Campaign further resolved as followed:
- Vote selling is an aberration to democratic process, it is condemnable and should be avoided
- Vote selling in a democratic process will not allow the electorates to vote the rightful candidate and this leads to the enthronement of bad or corrupt leaders
- Elections in democratic setting must be free and fair
- When the electorate sell their vote, they sell their conscience, moral, voice and imposes an unpopular or bad leader on the whole community
- The electorates should not vote for monetary gain but for performance and good leadership for a sustained democracy
- In other to vote into power persons with integrity, good conscience, performers who have interest of the electorates at heart, the electorates should not sell their votes.
- CSOs have an important role to play in sensitizing the grassroots against vote buying and other electoral malpractice
- The role of the media is critical in sensitizing the public against vote buying and electoral malpractice
- CSOs, Media and oversight agencies should collaborate to ensure votes are not sold/bought and the intentions of the masses count
- If the electorates reject the money brought by politicians to buy their votes, the politicians will not force them, instead, they will sit up in their work knowing that the electorates are not interested in money but credibility.
- Proper election process must ensure credibility
- Vote buying will make government representatives unwilling to be accountable and to produce economic well-being because the master-agent relationship would disappear
- Vote buying leads to negative development
- Political elites must be committed to election and democracy
- Election offences court or tribunal should be strengthened and practically independent to handle election related cases.
- No official of the state should retain his/her security details during election, they should all be withdrawn
- The electorates especially youths should avoid electoral Violence and political thuggery
- It is the citizens right to vote for their choiced candidate thus, their votes should not be sold
- Vote buying and electoral malpractice is corruption
- For us to have a corrupt free Nigeria, we should resist and reject corruption
- Vote buying is an indication that INEC is working. There are no more ballot box snatching thus, politicians resort to negotiate with the electorates
- Ignorance, poverty and misrepresentation of the common good of the electorates lead to vote buying
- Registered voters who have not collected their PVCs should go and collect as the PVCs are ready for pickup
Finally, the campaign against vote buying and other electoral malpractice should not be limited to Uyo and other capital cities, it should be extended to the grassroots and ensure that no one is left behind.