By Bayo Oluwasanmi
Every Nigerian knows that money buys elections, that votes come with a price tag. Elections constitute an essential element of participatory democracy. It’s a process to ensure the peaceful and orderly transfer of power from one leadership to another. It’s a democratic tool to effect a political change.
In our democracy, election is not considered important to participatory engagement, who becomes the next president, and how the country is run. It’s the best democratic charade that money can buy. Money decides who people can vote for. Those who have money win elections.
The biggest drawback in our democracy is that we have no durable institutions with built-in checks and balances. Mechanism to guide the electoral process and election outcome is corrupted and compromised. Level plain fields don’t exist.
In Nigeria, the failure of elections or its absence leads to political dictatorship. We have witnessed election rigging and brigandage, violence, and election annulment. The most recent example of election rigging by vote buying was the Ekiti State gubernatorial election. The election was blatantly rigged. What makes the rigging unique, troubling, and scary, is the open market buying of votes by APC and PDP. Ekiti rigging washed away the border between what’s unethical and what’s legal.
The exchange of cash for votes in Ekiti while the army and the police and the INEC officials looked away, indicates that the rigging was done with the approval and supervision of the security agencies and INEC as if vote buying is constitutional and legal. The APC and PDP were in political money arms race. Neither party wants to be left behind. Each party was bent to outspend the other.
In his article, Ekiti Election Buhari Celebrating Failure? published in the Vanguard, SKC Ogbonnia the APC presidential aspirant said “The fraudulent use of law-enforcement agencies, the open buying of votes and thuggery from PDP and APC do not represent positive change. This is a gross failure in leadership under Buhari regime and not worth celebrating.”
The display of open market buying of votes in Ekiti by the highest bidder – Buhari’s APC – means Buhari and APC are dead set to buy 2019 presidential election. With unlimited cash, with state machinery, with army and the police, and with INEC, Buhari will conveniently and comfortably buy a second term.
But I have bad news for Buhari and APC. The 2019 presidential election is not going to be between Buhari/Fayemi versus Fayose/Eleka. It’s going to be between the Youths and the Old Brigade ofThieves. It’s going to be between the forces of light and forces of darkness, between the progressives and the reactionaries, between the future and the past.
We’ll use available resources to apprehend the agents of vote buyers in each and every polling station. We’ll disrupt the cash flow for buying votes. By any means necessary, we’ll make it impossible for Buhari and APC to buy votes. Nigerian youths will turn themselves to a firewall to protect their votes and make sure every vote counts.
The 2019 presidential election is going to be the mother of all elections. The incumbent control of state machinery, the army and the police, the INEC, and their agents carrying ballots on one hand and bullets on the other, will back fire. It’s not going to be business as usual. The will of the people will triumph. Nigerians are ready to take their country back. So, let’s go there!