- Ahead of the Saturday, June 18 gubernatorial polls in Ekiti state, voters sensitization campaigns are already underway
- Prospective voters have been urged to dissuade from any form of activities that will relegate them to being puppets in the hands of politicians
- Ekiti residents have been urged to understand the value of their votes and how decisive it can be to the future of the state
Ekiti, Ado - Yiaga Africa has urged the citizens of Ekiti state not to devalue their citizenship to mere tokenism in form of gift items and money from politicians ahead of the Saturday, June 18 governorship elections in the state.
The quality of citizenship is being debased by the exchange of votes for money or gift items, thus citizens must understand the quality of being a citizen, Yiaga Africa Board member Ezenwa Nwagwu said.
The Organisation’s Board member, Ezenwa Nwagwu made the call during its citizens engagement radio program on Fresh FM, Ekiti, monitored by Legit.ng's zonal reporter, saying poverty is never a justification to sell your votes.
He said the citizens of Ekiti must desist from transactional relationships with politicians saying there is a need to stop the commodification of votes.
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According to him, “there is a wider context to which you look at voter inducement but there is a part that is criminal”.
He cites examples of how politicians ask residents to go to petrol stations to receive free fuel saying it is an example of voter inducement. However, it is difficult or impossible to arrest such people even when you know a voter has been induced through the distribution of fuel which he said is unique to Ekiti people. This he said was due to the nature of the electoral law, saying it's only criminal if voters are induced on election day.
He said, although inviting voters for feasting before elections is not criminal, there are ethical issues involved in that but however, but voter inducement delegitimizes the winner of the election.
“When you commodify the relationship between the leaders and the led, then that legitimacy is cut-off."
Politicians are targeting minds of voters - Ezenwa
Ezenwa revealed that the new catch by politicians is the door-to-door campaign by political parties which he describes as a euphemism for inducing voters behind closed doors saying politicians are targeting the minds of the voters with pecuniary engagements.
“can ordinary gift or food items replace the quality staffing of primary and secondary schools within the state”? can we have a situation where the quality of life can translate to the kind of resources available to the people."
He said citizens should understand that politicians who induce voters do not have plans for good governance saying citizens have to make a choice between receiving one day of gratification and being deprived of four years of good governance.
“When we trade today for a brighter future, we bear the consequences or reward of it”, he added.
He called on Civil Society Organisations, leadership of market women associations, and professional and trade unions to rise up to engage from the standpoint of citizens' demands.
He said the narrative of transactional relationships can be broken by forcing a new narrative by organizing citizens' town halls to engage candidates before and after elections.
Ekiti 2022: Yiaga Africa partners Police
In another related event, Yiaga Africa has strike a partnership understanding with the Nigerian police ahead of the Ekiti gubernatorial elections.
The Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, CP Tunde Mobayo has said the Nigerian Police Force does not have a choice but to collaborate with Civil Society Organizations like Yiaga Africa.
He said due to the level of work they do on building early warning systems and providing information to prevent escalation of election-related violence, it will be difficult to look away.
Yiaga Africa trains, deploys observers across all LGAs for Ekiti polls
Meanwhile, Yiaga Africa has yet again intensified their preparedness to monitor the pre-election, election, and post-election activities at the Ekiti polls.
The groups says it has conducted training for 24 observers to monitor the pre-electoral and electoral proceedings of the gubernatorial election in the state.
Also, it was gathered that all 24 observers will be deployed across the 16 local government areas of the state.