Ekiti 2018: AU Cautions Against Cash for Votes Syndrome

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Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A continental organisation, African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSSOC), has called on the people of Ekiti State not to allow themselves to be purchased by moneybags for the state to have a credible governor in the July 14 governorship poll.

The group, which is an affiliate of African Union (AU), advised that the country needs the state election to strengthen its diplomatic ties globally, adding that the election would also be a window through which Nigerians can peep into the 2019 general poll.

It urged the parties to conduct free, fair and credible primaries that would be in tandem with international best practices, saying: “Election is a process, no bad process can produce a good election, so all parties must conduct acceptable primaries.”

At a press conference in Ado Ekiti yesterday which was centred on the need for free, fair and credible election in the state, Dr. Tunji Asaolu, said the country can’t afford to have a malfunctioned electoral process which he said would automatically bring bad governance and corruption.

Asaolu, who is the Nigeria representative/ chairperson in charge of social affairs and health in  AU-ECOSSOC, said Nigeria needs free and fair election to stabilise and progress.

He said the union would begin aggressive sensitisation of the electorate in the state on the ills inherent in vote-for-cash syndrome, describing it as the worst thing to ever happen to any society.

“If you sell your conscience on the day of election or at the primaries, your rights as a citizen ceases to exist from that point.

“You can no longer request for good roads that you deserve or ask for qualitative education for your children as a right and other things you are entitled to as a citizen, that is why it is important for you to vote freely for whoever you think will represent the people well.”

Asaolu added that the Ekiti State election is not an ordinary election at this time rather an indication of how serious the country is with the emerging democratic dispensation.

He advised that Nigeria should build on the gains garnered in the 2015 elections, which he said was substantially credible according to internal observers.

“Nigeria’s prestige this time is on the line; the civilized world will not accept anything short of free and fair election neither would Ekiti State citizens accept irregularities or business as usual.

“Everything is going right at the moment for Nigeria: The economy is getting stronger, Nigeria is regaining  her confidence after being away from diplomatic circle and finally playing significant role of the giant of Africa.

“For Nigeria to arrive and take her distinguish seat among the comity

of nations, the country must first and foremost get the election right this

time,” he advised.

Asaolu stated further that for investors to come to Nigeria to partner the

government in building the economy, the country must be politically stable, cautioning  that the influential members of parties should desist from manipulating the primaries for this task to be achieved