The senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has accused the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of introducing vote-buying into Nigeria’s electoral system.
Ndume, who said this in Abuja while speaking as a guest on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum, was reacting to the allegation that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was using its Special Investment Programmes, including TraderMoni, to buy the electorate over.
The lawmaker alleged that the party’s current presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, emerged through vote-buying.
“First of all, during the presentation of `Next Level’ on Sunday, this allegation was categorically denied, and we said if there is such evidence, whoever is involved should be reported to the appropriate authority.
“Having said that, let me note that it is the PDP, and you can quote me on this, that introduced voted buying.
“Even now, they are concentrating on buying votes, not on campaigning to genuinely win election. So, I don’t know where this accusation is coming from.
“The PDP presidential candidate emerged by buying the votes, in dollars not even in naira.
“It is on record and everybody knows that even the presidential candidacy of PDP is purchased,’’
Ndume said the same could not be said of the emergence of Buhari as the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 presidential election.
He said that the President did not even ask anyone to step down for him during the recent primaries of the party, let alone buy delegates over.
“I hereby challenge any Nigerian to come out and say that Buhari even asked anyone to step down for him. He only offered himself to contest, and everybody queued behind him.
“So, when they allege that APC is buying votes, I just laugh.
“Do you know why PDP is contesting? It is because they think they can buy Nigerians, and Nigerians are not for sale.
“Nobody can say that President Muhammadu Buhari, either directly or indirectly, is condoning vote buying.’’
The senator, however, noted that the influence of money could not be ruled out of Nigerian politics as was the case even in advanced democracies such as the United States and others.
He said one of the reasons former U.S. President Barack Obama defeated Hilary Clinton in the Democratic Party’s primaries in 2008 was because he had more money.
Ndume stressed that money also played a major role in Obama’s victory in the general elections.
Vote-buying occurs when a political party or candidate seeks to buy the vote of a voter in an upcoming election.
The practice can take various forms such as a monetary exchange, as well as an exchange for necessary goods or services.
Vote-buying is often used to motivate or persuade voters to turn out to elections and vote in a particular way.
Despite the fact that this practice is illegal in many countries such as the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Kenya and Nigeria, its prevalence remains worldwide.