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In the recent past, particularly during the Ekiti Governorship election, the issue of vote buying has taken the front burner in all media houses and discussions in this country. One thing is certain, the attention given to the issue, in all honesty, to my mind is over blown out of proportion.

In the recent past, particularly during the Ekiti Governorship election, the issue of vote buying has taken the front burner in all media houses and discussions in this country. One thing is certain, the attention given to the issue, in all honesty, to my mind is over blown out of proportion.

In a way, the high level of such a discussion has tended to over-look the honest and genuine voters who are patriotic enough not to involve in such a messy aspect of democratic process which is the process of electing those to govern the people because, there are still so many honest and genuine voters who see voting as a civic responsibility incumbent on them to perform.
If we take a little step into the entire saga of vote buying, we will not fail to discover the total futility of the entire dramatization. Of course, this does not mean that in all the previous elections just concluded in the past one or two years or so, there were definitely elements of vote buying in Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Anambra and others. But the question which we must not fail to ask ourselves is this “was the incidence of voting definitely titled the balance of winning or failing by those candidates who won or who failed? To answer this, we must not fail to attempt just a small mathematical calculation.
Let us assume that the number of registered voters in one particular State is seven hundred thousand. In Ekiti for instance, the number with which the winner emerged was less than four hundred thousand total votes cast which meant that a little less of the registered voters came to the pool to cast their votes.  Of course, in Ekiti, this was definitely not the case. The APC Governorship candidate was declared the winner by scoring 197,459 votes. His PDP rival scored 178121 votes. If the figure was more of those voters bought, then it meant that the victorious candidate must have spent over N1, 000,000 if according to reports each voter was given about N5, 000. This would bring the total amount spent by the victorious candidate to N 987,295. Is this possible? Probably yes or probably no.
From this other compelling questions emerge. What of those candidates who did not have the money to buy votes? What of those candidates who knew that whatever happened, they would not win the election in view of other imperatives? What of those genuine voters who would no matter what happens would not accept even one kobo? And what of those affluent members of the public who would never be approached to ask for their votes with money?
If we take time to sift through these questions and begin to analyze them carefully, it will not be difficult for us to see the futility of some claims that those elections were marred by incidence of vote buying and such votes-buying actually influence the results one way or the other. Point!
Another angle to look at this vote buying saga is this. Have we forgotten that those who had the responsibilities of distributing these vote-buying funds actually distributed the funds given to them? Or did they actually distribute the correct amount given to them? Or did they just do it in the Nigerian way, “distribute little cash and pocketed the rest as their own democratic dividend?
The point that is being made here is that we have over-dramatized one vote-buying scenario thereby discounting other intervening variables which came to interplay in the process. These variables included those voters who are relations, friends and die-hard supporters of a particular candidate that would never ask for before casting their votes according to their consciences. We have equally discounted those in the State whose consciences and moral ethos would never allow taking one kobo before casting their votes.
Besides, there were many young voters who were highly enthusiastic to express their franchise for the first time and who through voter education had come to vote and who would ignore such offers if made to them. And there were those who through voter education had come to vote and would likely toe the line of those preachings and advice given to them by some agencies such as National Orientation Agency, etc.
Unfortunately, we have failed to focus our minds and talk more seriously on those well-known issues that have come to interplay in those past elections rather than focusing on the tiny issue of vote-buying which by every stretch of geometric progression or regression could not turn the tide of what the result of such election was itching to be.
These issues must include the over-militarization of our electoral process in which security officials and personnel were used to intimidate voters, compel electoral personnel to tamper with the results, or to arrest and detain important functionaries of opposition political parties and the apparent involvement of INEC officials whom many believed have now moved away from compromising the election results by booth to booth falsification of results but now have perfected the practice of “rigging the election at the point of announcement.”
We are not unaware as often alleged by members of the public that there is one top INEC National Commissioner who has become the master strategist in the manipulation of election results at the points of announcement of results. In fact, it has been alleged consistently that this official is the brain box of election results falsification in favour of APC because of the relationship with the President. It was alleged that this particular National Commissioner “performed wonders in Edo and Ondo” without which the results would have been different. And many believe that unless this particular National Commissioner is removed from INEC, Nigerians would not waste their times talking of “free, fair and credible election” because the present INEC as constituted will never ever conduct any election that could see the present President, Buhari losing the election.
This is where we should focus our attention and interests to ensure that INEC as presently constituted can never ever conduct credible election in 2019.
My readers and other Nigerians should mark my word because it will come to pass and Nigeria would be in trouble. Did I not say a couple of months ago in my article entitled, “Adams as APC Chairman: A disaster in the waiting?” is it not happening? Nigerians must learn to take seriously the advice of unbiased and independently minded writers. In a way, they are just like the Biblical Prophets that are long gone.
These are things we must focus our attention and minds on and not on the microscopic issue of vote-buying which INEC has centralized to deceive the gullible public minus myself and few others. Do I need to say more? No.

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