By Ahmed Ubandoma
Abuja – Ahead of the 2019 general elections, a human rights activist, Mr Modibbo Bakari, has advised the electorate to desist from selling their votes, but rather elect visionary candidates with people-oriented programmes.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, Bakari said that vote buying was capable of mortgaging the future of Nigerians.
He said that the electorate must be proactive and eliminate the alarming trend of vote buying in Nigeria`s electoral process.
The rights activist and lawyer also appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigeria Police and other relevant agencies to engage Nigerians through enlightenment campaigns to sensitise them to the dangers of vote buying and selling.
According to Bakari , vote buying is an offence under the 2010 Electoral Act.
He said the electoral law criminalised vote buying before, during and after elections.
“ Vote buying is an offence under the Electoral Act 2010 which is the applicable law in Nigeria.
“ The Act provides that any financial inducement with regards to elections amount to electoral offence.’’
Bakari however, expressed regret that the Nigerian electoral law and other statutes did not make adequate provision for punishment of electoral offenders.
He called on the Federal Government to establish special courts to try electoral offences.
“The existing courtrooms are filled with other criminal cases, hence the need to create special courts for speedy dispensation of electoral offences cases.’’
Bakari called on Nigerians to engage candidates seeking political offices on a social contract aimed at providing basic amenities such as water, healthcare and schools (NAN).