With less than one year to the 2023 election, Nigerians in the diaspora have called on eligible voters to resist the temptation of vote commercialisation which, they said, had done more evil than good in the country’s political system.
The Nigerians, under the aegis of Nigerian Diaspora Organisation Americas and the Nigeria Diaspora Network, spoke during the second edition of the zoom meeting and summit which was held on Saturday night.
While NIDOA’s mission is to promote the spirit of patriotism, networking, and cooperation among Nigerians in Diaspora for their individual and collective success in the countries they reside, NDN is an organisation for volunteer professionals of like mind working with accomplished patriotic Nigerian professionals striving for the development of the country.
A panelist and Chief Executive Officer of IIIimite Access, Kemi Roland, described the issue of vote buying as “a hydra-headed problem and a vicious circle.”
She said the citizens could decide to liberate themselves by saying enough is enough.
“Many of the politicians spend money. They 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,” Roland stated.
She said voters needed to be continuously educated on the need to refrain from vote buying.
“Unfortunately, citizens in Nigeria have 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.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Youth Congress, Abdulrahman Bapullo, who frowned at the increasing rate of vote buying in the country’s electioneering process, 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 contested a seat in the Adamawa State House of Assembly election in 2019.
Bapullo said to fight against money politics, people with good intentions for Nigeria must be ready to get involved in the political process.
He said, “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.
“If people that know how to make policies, people that are intelligent, people that have solutions, if they can join the party system, especially young people, it will be a welcomed development.”
However, a legal practitioner, Kesi Seun-Adedamola, called on the youths to be active in politics for better development.
“We’ve got to take it. It’s not going to come to us easily. Have you seen anyone that wants to give up power? The youths have to say it is our turn.
“And we need to talk less and do more; we have to demand what we want, not just interacting on Twitter. Look, every change was done by people that demanded more,” she said.