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Let politicians know that they can't buy your votes - Jega



The former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has advised Nigerian voters to tell politicians that they cannot buy their votes to get into elective positions in the country.

Jega said the buying of votes by politicians is responsible for the poor quality of leaders in the country. He said once politicians have bought their way into elective positions, they are not responsive or answerable to them.

In his view, until the practice of buying votes is addressed, those elected into positions in the country will not be responsive to the people.

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The former INEC chairman made this remarks during a forum organized by the Nigerian Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja on Friday, February 9, 2018.

He said, “Unless the people let politicians know that they cannot buy their way into office every four or five years, through the ballot box, they will never be responsible and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people.

“Voters should realize that they are critical stakeholders that deserve to be listened to. Hence, it is imperative they begin to protect the integrity of the electoral process so as to have sufficient moral ground to hold those in governance accountable.

“Relying exclusively on extractive revenue is unhealthy for good governance and democracy. All a public office holder needs to do to loot the treasure is simply to divert funds accruing to government from the extractive sector of the economy.

“However, if the government raises bulk of its revenue by compelling people to pay their taxes, the people will in turn be interested in knowing how the taxes they paid were utilized, and that will reduce the level of the corruption perpetuated by those in government.”

“We need to careful with what the frustrations of democracy can lead us into. Militarianism should never again be an option for us. Democracy may not be the only game but it is a major game in town.” 

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