At the just concluded governorship election at Ekiti State, which occurred over the past weekend, there was a lot of importance beyond electing a new governor to take over from the outgoing Governor Kayode Fayemi. It was additionally, an opportunity to put the recently amended Electoral Act 2010 into practice.
The most interesting aspect of that amendment which Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, newly signed into law after initial delays with the National Assembly, is the keying in of results from the polling booths at the various election venues to the Independent National Electoral Commission -INEC’s, central servers.
This new method vastly reduces the chances of rigging, old ploys of ballot snatching, falsification of results, delayed wait for the result, and other electoral vices. Collation of the election manual results is now just a mere formality. Indeed, the new electoral dashboard was launched by YIAGA Africa, and news channel: Channels Television displayed the direction the result was headed only hours after voting ended. Surprisingly, there were no incidents of violence but what would have gone down in history as a hitch-free electoral exercise in the state was sullied by large vote-buying.
The election was in other words, commercialized openly, yet the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission –EFCC, whose men were sent to dissuade vote-buying, confessed to only catching and arresting about 15 culprits. The money for this illegal activity either comes from a public source or individual pockets. Either way, the citizens would be on the losing end in all of it.
No political leader with true genuine intentions towards the people would not readily part with his hard-earned money to influence voters. Vote-buying has to be tackled and eliminated.