Constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Barr Chukwudi Ezeobika, has called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of all aspirants and delegates fingered in the reported vote buying and selling that characterised the primary elections of political parties in the country.
Barr. Ezeobika was speaking on the heel of the just concluded presidential convention of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, where it was alleged that dollars exchanged hands between delegates and aspirants contesting on the platform of the party.
The former Senatorial Candidate for Anambra South emphasized that such aspirants “who breached the law on vote buying and or selling are unfit und uniquely unqualified to lead.”
“It is indeed worrisome and extremely difficult to comprehend how negatively our electoral processes in Nigeria are being abused by both Aspirants and Delegates as well as the electorates under the watchful eyes of the electoral umpire, without any form of penalty and or consequence.
“This illegal conduct is gradually crippling the electoral processes and undermining the efforts of the electoral umpire in conducting free, fair, and credible elections for the sustenance of our democracy.
“It remains reprehensible that the law enforcement agencies in Nigeria could sit idly by and watch this cancerous trend of vote buying and selling go on in Nigeria unabated.
“The brazenness and audacity with which these acts are carried out and the weak regulation of political parties by the Independent National Electoral Commission brings to bear, the urgent need for a comprehensive interrogation of the factors militating against the integrity and transparency of elections and good governance in Nigeria in order to halt this ugly trend of lawlessness and restore sanctity in our electoral processes.
Barr. Ezeobika maintained that “the act of vote-buying remains unlawful in Nigeria and the affirmation of these illegalities being perpetrated by political elites is of great concern and remains a grave threat to our democracy.”
He therefore called on the Inspector General of Police and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as all relevant law enforcement agencies to, without further delays, investigate and prosecute all persons involved in vote buying and selling during the on going party primary elections.
The legal practitioner further charged the security agencies to ensure that all persons who indulge in the illegal conduct of vote buying and selling before, during and after the 2023 general elections in Nigeria are brought to account.