Voters Apathy and Vote Buying: A Threat To Our Democracy!
By Idede Osayande
Right from when politicians started showing interest for the forthcoming 2019 general elections, as at far back 2017, I have been following closely the happenings in the political space across party lines. Whether in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), or the face of opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), two things stood out; ‘vote buying and voters apathy’.
It is not mere rumours that some persons secured their candidature with the intimidating war chest in their possession, thereby making party faithful that doesn’t want them hopeless, as they were able to manoeuvre the system with their financial influence. Those within the party have also taken the reports to the street, thereby making electorates feel they have no say in the forthcoming elections. “Whether you vote or not, they know how they will emerge”, is a common citation in the street. This is not good for our democracy.
Those with a moral conscience are thereby using it as an alibi to justify their apathy towards the forthcoming elections. “Since they already have a winner, no need for me to come out to vote”, they would say.
While those that feel the society has completely lost any iota of morality will say, “whether I vote or not, they will rig it, so let them pay me for voting for them. At least, I am making the rigging easier for them and also getting my share.”
Those that sell their votes and those that don’t come out to vote are different sides of the same coin. None is profitable for our democracy. The question we should be asking is simple: “if votes don’t count, why do politicians pay to buy them?”. That alone should send a strong message that votes actually count. Our indifference, lackadaisical, and ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude, makes it easy for these politicians to manoeuvre the system as they deem fit.
If we all troop out to vote en masse, and also patiently wait to see our votes being counted in the various polling units across the country, we will discover that power will return to the people instantly. But if we continue to hide our heads in the sand, playing the ostrich, then I am sorry to say, the hour of redemption will still be far away!
As election day draws near, get your PVCs, and make up your mind to vote credible candidates! Resist the temptation of vote selling, and also don’t leave votes supervision to hoodlums and ‘area boys’ alone.
To save this country from the leadership collapse we are currently experiencing is a collective responsibility.
God bless Nigeria!