The presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo, has alleged that the majority of the national assembly members are “vote buyers”.
Mr Adebayo spoke on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.
The Independent National Electoral Commission has repeatedly canvassed the creation of the Electoral Offences Commission by the national assembly to punish electoral offenders.
The Nigerian Senate, in July 2021, passed a bill seeking to establish the Electoral Offences Commission.
In June 2022, the bill passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.
It was sponsored by Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Aishatu Duku.
The bill, if signed into law, will empower the commission to investigate electoral offences, and prosecute offenders, including those caught inducing voters.
But Mr Adebayo said it was hypocritical for the lawmakers who are allegedly guilty of vote buying to pass such a bill.
The SDP candidate alleged that some of the lawmakers emerged as candidates of their parties as a result of inducing voters with money.
Mr Adebayo, a lawyer, urged the lawmakers to be morally challenged on the issue of vote buying to reduce its occurrence in the 2023 general elections.
“The problem of Nigeria is not that we are sinners. God can forgive us. But we are hypocrites. God can’t help hypocrites,” he said.
“Majority of people in the national assembly are vote buyers, even though they are passing the law against vote buying,” Mr Adebayo added.
“The same political class are the ones passing the law they know they are going to disobey.”
He also claimed that apart from the lawmakers, some candidates of the various political parties in the country used vote buying to win the primary elections of their various political parties.
“So, it is difficult to make us believe that this is an offence… like a strange offence but this is an offence that can only be committed by the political class,” he said.
Police also involved
The SDP candidate also accused the police of aiding vote buying during elections.
He claimed that he observed some officers aiding vote buying during the last governorship election in Ekiti State, South-west Nigeria.
Mr Adebayo alleged that the officers were colluding with some vote buyers by monitoring voters and confirming to the vote buyers the voters that voted for them for payment.
“In some unfortunate instances, around Ado-Ekiti and others, the policemen would be the middle-men who would do thumbs up (to the vote buyers, indicating) if the voter voted for them and do thumbs down if the person did not vote for them,” he said.
To address vote buying, Mr Adebayo suggested that non-voters, such as officials of political parties and security agencies, should not be allowed to see what the voters are doing.
He also said voters should not be allowed to hold a conversation with any individual until such a voter was done voting.
“Voters should be out of sight and out of hearing. That is, where the polling unit is, there should be nobody who can speak from around or see what the voter is doing,” he said.
“What this means is this: when you go for accreditation and you’re being given your ballot paper, everybody can see you, but you must walk up to 30 or 40 paces to a corner to go and vote (where you won’t be seen).”
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