Abuja- Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has decried what it termed “continued cases of corruption among politicians,’’ particularly with regards to financial inducement of electorate to get votes.
The NBA expressed its displeasure in a statement signed by its President, Mr Augustine Alegeh, made available on Wednesday in Abuja.
The statement quoted Alegeh as saying elections in Nigeria were characterised by corruption and financial inducement in exchange for votes.
He said “voters are corrupted with cash, bags of rice, salt and various gifts which corrupt the electoral system.
“Electoral officers are also corrupted with cash, bags of rice, salt and various other gifts to skew the electoral process in favour of preferred candidates.’’
The NBA boss condemned the alleged act and described it as “the high level of electoral corruption.’’
He said such actions impeded the growth of democracy, discouraged the demand for accountability from elected public officers, and reduced their desire to provide dividends of democracy and good governance to the people.
Alegeh added that the resultant effect of financial or material inducement for votes was that voters could not hold elected public officers accountable for their performance in public offices.
“This no doubt leads to absence of accountability between elected public officers and voters because elected public officers believe they have paid off the electorate and are therefore not accountable to anyone.
“We believe that only free and credible elections where voters vote based on their independent assessment of candidates can ensure accountability of elected persons.’’
He urged all levels of government, private sector, non-governmental organisations and the media to join forces to fight and break the corruption chain as it undermined social and economic development.
He added that the theme of the 2014 Anti-Corruption Day; “Break the Corruption Chain’’ was apt, as it captured what was needed to do to fight corruption ahead of the 2015 general elections.
He noted that corruption had eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian system and threatened the nation’s moral integrity, and challenged Nigerians to embrace the fight against corruption.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dec. 9 of every year is set aside to mark the International Anti- Corruption Day. (NAN)