Nigerian politicians are specialist in vote-buying during electoral periods. It is a strategy they formulate to induce the impoverished electorates to vote them into office. I wonder if thy will be so prone to vote buying if votes don’t truly count as some insinuate. Shortly before the 2023 general election, the Central Bank of Nigeria came up with a cash redesign policy which led to led to severe cash shortage across the country.
Politicians needed to brainstorm other means of survival. Government officials confirmed that one of the aims of the CBN naira redesign policy was to prevent vote-buying at the general elections, a phenomenon that had blighted off-season governorship elections in Anambra, Kogi, Edo, Ekiti, Ondo and Osun states.
To adress the widespread vote-buying menace, penalities were stipulated in the amended Electoral Act 2022.
Section 121 of the Act states:
1. Any person who does any of the following —
(a) directly or indirectly, by his or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, corruptly makes any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement to or for any person, in order to induce such person to procure or to endeavour to procure the return of any person as a member of a legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election;
(b) upon or in consequence of any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement corruptly procures, or engages or promises or endeavours to procure, the return of any person as a member of a legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election;
(c) advances or pays or causes to be paid any money to or for the use of any other person, with the intent that such money or any part thereof shall be expended in bribery at any election, or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in discharge or repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any election;
(d) after any election directly, or indirectly, by his or herself, or by any other person on his or her behalf receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting, or having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting or having induced any candidate to refrain from canvassing for votes for his or herself at any such election, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.
(2) A voter commits an offence of bribery where before or during an election directly or indirectly by his or herself or by any other person on his or her behalf, receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration, office, place or employment, for his or herself, or for any other person, for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at any such election.
Many persons – incuding politicians, party agents and voters – were arrested in parts of the country before and during the 2023 general elections for vote buying and related offences. The electoral and security agencies have the responsibility for prosecuting them in court.
Excerpt from: Bisi Abidoye’s report on https://www.premiumtimesng.com