…Uncovers vote-buying new trend of “provide evidence”
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
As decision day draws more closely, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have begun to laud the signing of peace accords by stakeholders in Kaduna State and sensitizing others on the need for peaceful conduct of 2023 elections.
Participants, however, expressed worry over trending new dimension of vote-buying, popularly known as “provide evidence,” a situation where votes sellers (voters) will provide instant evidence of their votes to vote buyers at polling booth corners during voting process to enable them collect a token amount of money promised them after voting.
These and other salient election matters dominated days of discussions on peaceful 2023 general elections forum jointly organized by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC), in Kaduna State.
Participants, including journalists, had during the discussion sessions still expressed disbelieve on no-cause-for-alarm syndrome of INEC, amidst huge trending incidents of buying and selling of PVCs in progress everywhere in Kaduna State for as low as N2,000 or less.
Participants also expressed doubt on capability of INEC in cubing the trends of using handsets in taken snapshots of thumb-printed votes by electorates to provide evidence to votes buyers so as to be paid their money, based on agreement reached between them, mostly at polling units.
Earlier, during the press briefing, CISLAC’s Executive Director (ED), Auwal Ibrahim Musa, said a number of peace accords have been signed in Kaduna State with a view to ensuring peace before, during after the elections in the state.
CISLAC ED, who was represented by the Senior Program Officer, Solomon Adoga, also commended religious leaders in southern part of Kaduna for coming together on Monday to sign MoU among Christians and Muslims to uphold peace throughout the electioneering period in their zone of the state.
According to him, CISLAC and IMC considered the action as thoughtful, proactive, exemplary and worthy of emulation by other zones in the state and Nigeria in general.
Mr. Adoga said, late last year 2022, political parties and candidates, under the auspices of Kaduna State Peace Commission, committed themselves to peaceful 2023 general elections in the state through signing of peace a accord.
He explained that some of the key reasons for the peace pacts include the need to build consensus among the electoral stakeholders in the state, and bestowed confidence among electorates, emphasising the importance of achieving peace in Kaduna State.
While he stressed the need for reminding stakeholders on their commitment to peace pacts continually as crucial, he noted that CISLAC and IMC are playing the reminding roles to the political parties and its candidates as election approaches, urging supporters and influencers to desist from stoking-up electoral violence and conflicts in the state.
Kaduna, he noted, has had its fair share of violence over the years, which was detrimental to development, pointing out that it’s easier for the people in the state to thrive in peace than combating chaos.
Also speaking, a guest, popularly addressed as “Imam” and representatives of organisers said every tiny segment of tribes and ethnicity in Nigeria is adequately represented in Kaduna, making the state unique, and recalled the adage that says, “When Kaduna sneezes, the entire country catches cold.”
Other officials, including M. Jeremiah and a female counterpart, urged the media to properly sensitize the masses on the need for peaceful election and avoid use of fake news, in order not to escalate election violence.