Vote Buying, Imposition of Candidates, Challenges of Nigeria’s Democracy, Say Youths

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Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

A coalition of youth leaders of political parties in Bauchi State have observed that vote buying and imposition of candidates by party leaders are challenges militating against the growth of democracy in Nigeria.

The youth leaders from three political parties — the All Progressive Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) — made the observation during a three-day training organised by the International Republican Institute (IRI), a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded project for political parties, held at the Staple Plaza in Bauchi Monday.

The training was facilitated by the IRI Resident Programme Officer, Husna Hassan; Dr Umar Kari, a lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Abuja; Amina Aliyu, IRI State Coordinator; and IRI State Programme Associate, Suleiman Baiko.

They lamented that vote buying and imposition of candidates have become a common practice during the conduct of elections in the country, alleging that many political parties were using it to ensure that their candidates win at all cost.

“It is unfortunate that elections in Nigeria is no longer free, fair and credible. Many politicans are guilty of using money to induce voters and people who are not the choice of the electorate are imposed on them as a result of influence of godfatherism factor,” said a PDP Women Leader in Bogoro Local Government of the state, Hassana Akita.

In his presentation on the concept and institutions of democracy, Dr Kari said that lack of internal party democracy and respect for party’s constitution are factors causing crisis in political parties.

“In 2003, 2007 and 2011, almost all election results in this country were contested in court and this was because they were not transparent and credible. Political parties have a role to ensure that there is strict adherence to the rule of law where every member is not restricted in participating in electoral processes,” he said.