The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, on Tuesday called on Nigerians to eschew vote buying.
According to him, vote buying casts doubt on the credibility and integrity of Nigeria’s electioneering process.
Boss said this at the National Policy Dialogue on Eradicating Electoral Corruption with focus on vote buying held in Keffi, Nasarawa State on Tuesday.
The event was organised by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), the research and training arm of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
The SGF was represented by the Permanent Secretary General Services, Mr Olusegun Adekunle.
He said other forms of electoral corruption such as violence in the 2019 general elections also raised question on the credibility and integrity of the electioneering process.
“Hate speech too has become a tool for opponents to attack each other because of conflicting political interests,’’ he said.
Mustapha reminded Nigerians that they were stakeholders in the electioneering process, hence the need to strengthen credibility of the electioneering process of the country.
The SGF, however, noted that although Nigeria’s democracy was troubled with some challenges, event as that gave the hope that the country would overcome its challenges and become strong.
“The 2019 general elections have come and gone, now is time to take a critical view on its successes and failures so as to help build a better nation.”
He said that dialogue served as a forum that would enable participants have useful engagements needed to build the consensus necessary for development.
The SGF said it would also help to build national and multi-stakeholder response, required to tackle challenges like the vote buying phenomenon.
“The Buhari’s administration in 2017 approved and adopted the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (2017-2021), to strengthen the electoral process across the Federal, State and Local Government levels to engender public confidence.”
“The ultimate aim of the strategy was to create a more credible electoral culture.
“I wish to commend ICPC on the introduction of intellectual dimension to the fight against corruption, especially the Risk Analysis on various aspects in the Anti-Corruption drive.
“Let me encourage you to channel that same activity in the electoral process.”
Mustapha urged participants to explore some other issues that affecting Nigeria’s electoral process like court sanctions, legislative reforms or improved voter education and enforcement.
The SGF further urged them to develop a policy framework that would guide the electoral management body, political actors and citizens among others on handling incidences of vote buying.
He commended the leadership of the commission for putting up a dialogue at a time which would help set the tone for the second term of President Buhari.
“I can assure you that, the policy framework from the meeting will be considered in the fight against corruption as part of the change President Buhari promised Nigerians.”
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