DULY ELECTED OR DULY PURCHASED? Report on Vote Buying and Selling in the 2018 Ekiti Governorship Elections
Nigeria's democracy is under threat following growing trend of vote buying and selling in elections. Capacity, competence and character are not parameters for assessing electoral candidates. Cash-for-vote or 'see and buy' is emerging as the major determinant of electoral choice. Besides being illegal as explicitly stated in Nigeria's electoral laws, vote buying also has a tendency to aggravate corruption in public offices as those who hold public mandates are made to seek corrupt means of enriching themselves towards future elections. This menace is undermining electoral choices and could imperil Nigeria's democracy if not abated.
Vote buying is gradually replacing anti-polls or rigging tactics of politicians. This is attributed to checks and balances in the electoral process that has made electoral brigandage unattractive to politicians. Vote buying is the latest strategy adopted by politicians undermine the electoral process. This was evident in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti state where politicians deployed multiple tactics to buy votes at the polling stations.
Concerned by this emerging trend of 'see and buy', YIAGA AFRICA through its Watching The Vote project undertook a post-election investigation to interrogate the factors that facilitated vote buying and selling in the election. The study as entailed identifying the chain of operation and methods of vote buying before and during election as well as the implication of this emerging political behaviour for democratic consolidation and development-oriented politics. The study reveals the following as drivers of vote buying and selling in Ekiti state;