Kodilichukwu Okelekwe, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Anambra State, has blamed poverty and ignorance as the main reasons vote buying thrives during Nigerian elections.
Okelekwe, the APC’s senatorial candidate for Anambra Central Zone, spoke at a party stakeholders’ meeting in the state.
He lamented that, due to poverty and ignorance, people do not consider the suffering they will face over the next four years, preferring to collect pitiful sums in order to vote.
He said, “Vote-buying is now an issue in election process, but we know that it is a passing phase. Before now, it used to be ballot box snatching, but innovation in election process has phased that out.
“Today, it is vote buying, and we know that too will pass away some day. Vote buying is made worse by poverty and ignorance. Someone will not consider the good education, good healthcare and many other dividends that come from good governance, but will rather insist on collecting money to vote.”
Okelekwe lamented that vote buying was one of the reasons a party like APC with its over 450,000 members in Anambra could not poll enough votes to win the state.
“I have analysed the membership of our party in the state and found that we have over 450,000 members, yet people have won governorship of this state with less than 200,000 votes. So why can we not poll our votes together and make a governor?” he added.
Earlier in his speech, a professor of Political Science at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Prof. Charles Okoye delivered a lecture on party loyalty among members of political parties.
Okoye also corroborated the claims of Okelekwe, stating, “Poverty is the reason vote buying is thriving in Nigeria today. There is no election in Nigeria that you will not see canvassers soliciting for votes and giving money.
“That is where we need the media to sensitise the people of the dangers of selling their vote. For every vote you sell, you are enthroning bad leadership and incompetent people.”