The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to devise a system of monitoring individuals or politicians that may be involved in vote buying during the 2019 election.
NOA Imo State Coordinator, Mr Vitus Ekeocha, gave the advise at a voter pre-election dialogue tagged “Towards Credible 2019 Election in Imo”, held in Owerri on Tuesday.
The programme is organised by NOA and South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO) in collaboration with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and Department for International Development (DFID).
Ekeocha said only candidates and politicians who had nothing to offer engaged in vote buying.
“Nigerians have been brainwashed into thinking that election period is a money making period, voter education is needed to clean up the mess that has been put into the psyche of the people,” he said.
He noted that to stop vote buying in Nigeria, INEC must put in place a mechanism to check it.
“INEC must monitor campaigns of candidates and bank accounts of their directors, children and friends,” he said.
He noted that voter education is ongoing and apt as it was needed to enlighten people on the need to be involved actively in political process in order to vote right.
Ekeocha said voter education was designed to equip the voter with specific mechanism on the electoral process towards free and credible election.
“Voter education is to empower the electorate to be willing and able to participate effectively in the electoral process for a free and fair election.
“Elections are central to democracy. Voter education enhances the ability of the voter to participate actively in politics, to make informed and wise decision and vote rightly,” he said.
The NOA boss advised youths not to allow themselves to be used as thugs by politicians.
He advised political parties to educate their members on how to vote rightly especially in recognising party symbol and emblem.
He also harped on the need for the electorate to device means of holding those in governance accountable immediately after election.
According to Ekeocha, good governance is achieved when rule of law is allowed to have its way and the citizens are given right of way to participate in governance.
SSDO Executive Director, Mrs Nkechi Igwe said the programme was aimed at mobilising women, youths and the children to take active part in the electoral process.
Igwe was represented by SSDO Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Mr Udochukwu Egwim.