A human rights organisation under the aegis of Civic Hive, an affiliate of BudgIT has raised fears over the menace of vote trading, describing it as a threat to the 2023 election.
The organisation, therefore, recommended serious awareness campaigns to educate the electorate on the dangers of vote buying and selling.
The Team Lead for Civic Hive, Afolabi Oluwaseun, stated these in an interview with The PUNCH during a Fellowship close house session which held in Abuja where the organisation call for applications in the non-profit sector.
He said, “So, we call for applications for ideas like this and support them with resources. This particular Fellowship started in March and it closed in September. Within the first three months, we brought in facilitators within and outside Nigeria to impact our Fellows, we also support them with our technology and other forms of support we can give to them at this point in time. The whole idea is not related to elections but to bringing new leaders into the civic tech space.
“But the issue of vote buying and selling is worrisome to every Nigerian and I’m sure many organizations are working about this. There should be campaigns and awareness creation to let voters know that they should vote for who they believe would move the state forward, rather than sell their votes.
“The dangers of selling their votes are enormous as the very first thing the candidate would do when he gets to power is to recoup his funds. In recouping his funds, there won’t be infrastructural development anymore because he has to recoup his funds.
“There are enough laws, we just need to implement it, there are laws to engage people that indulge in buying and selling, those laws can also be strengthened, let the agency in charge with it tighten up and do what’s right.”
The Executive Director, Tech-her, Chioma Chuka-Agwuegbo, described BudgIT and Civic Hive as a product of hard work and resilience and also of a need to see things get better in Nigeria.
Speaking on vote trading, she said, “We should constantly be reorienting citizens of the fact that Nigeria belongs to every one of us, it doesn’t belong to politicians, it doesn’t belong to agent or government.
“Projects like this with Civic Hive, raising a new set of leaders is very critical as they are able to take these conversations further into communities and grassroots levels and have conversations with people and helping people see that the vote that is bought today will not feed them for the next four years, for the next eight years.
“My thoughts towards the 2023 election is that of peace and advancement; we’re also working towards platforming women. We want women in political offices, we want more women to vote and be voted for. We are just waiting for better outcomes for Nigerian girls and women.