Poverty, hunger cause of vote buying in Nigeria--Bolaji Abdullahi - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Poverty, hunger cause of vote buying in Nigeria--Bolaji Abdullahi

By Editor

Former Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has attributed the current vote buying rocking Nigeria's democracy, to poverty and hunger in the country.

Bolaji Abdullahi, Chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)in Kwara state and the party's candidate for Kwara Central senatorial in 2023 general elections who said this in Ilorin in his address, titled"Re-Engaging the Media for Credible Democracy"he delivered at the opening ceremony of the Annual press week ceremony of the NUJ Correspondents Chapel, said "in a country where  the median monthly income is N11,500.00, where people are living just for the next day,or the next week,it would remain difficult to merely preach that people should not sell their votes."

"Crushed under paralyzing poverty, it is impossible for the people to organize themselves and challenge the power equation, which simply remains weighed in favour of the political elite"he added.

Abdullahi also castigated the media for falling under the current challenge, saying "the media is operated by human beings, who also have bills to pay.In addition,however journalists as civil society actors faced another peculiar challenge. It is quite ironic to observe that the media appeared to be more robust and more militant under military dictatorship than we have since the enthronement of democracy.This is easy to explain though.

"Military dictatorship, by its own very illegitimacy makes legitimate every means that may be employed for its overthrow. Conversely, democratic government no matter how poorly constituted or operated,determines any means for its overthrow outside the only method legitimised by the constitution, which is through electoral process, no matter how bankrupt that process may be."He added. 

He  explained that ,"the biggest threat to the credibility of our democracy right now is the extreme monetisation of the political process that has reduced our democracy to mere economic transaction between the electorate and the political elite.

"This clientelistic relationship not only reduces the quality of participation but it effectively disempowers the people and robs them of the capability to decide who governs them and shuts the space on accountability.

"The question therefore is that can you take away the capability of the people to decide who governs them,their capability to hold the political elite accountable and still claim to have democracy?

"Right now,we appeared trapped in a vicious circle.Politicians,get into office and mess up economy,leaving the people poorer and more miserable. The people get poorer and collect money to vote bad politicians into office. It's a chicken and egg conundrum really."

He however expressed optimism that the future of democracy in Nigeria is still bright. 

"Nigeria has 60% of its population below 18.This also gives cause for hope...A 62 year-old country is a very young country in historical terms. Our democracy is even much younger.

 However, the responsibility for our generation is to continue to lay foundation for this future,one block at a time."He added.

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