Editor’s Note: - This is the 3rd blog informing the Nigerian public on electoral offences in the Electoral Act; here is the first post on Punishment and buying Voter’s cards and the second on penalty for improper use of voter’s cards.
I guess you must have heard the term “stomach infrastructure”, if you have not, it simply describes an act peculiar to Nigerian politicians, where they supply and share food items to the electorate in a bid to sway their voting decision in the politician’s favour. An example is the Ekiti elections which were held earlier this year which had persons vying for the seat of the Governor sharing bags of rice to people in the state.
Many unscrupulous politicians however do not stop there, but they go the extra mile in securing their electoral victories by bribing both the electorate and the electoral officers. I believe Nigeria should have evolved beyond all forms of electoral irregularities and it is very important that all Nigerians are informed that it is a crime to conspire to bribe or to actually bribe anyone with the goal of securing electoral favours.
The Electoral Act in section 124 provides for the act and offence of bribery or conspiring to bribe during elections. It provides in essence that anyone who –
- Directly or indirectly offers any money or valuable consideration;
- Corruptly makes or receives any gift, loan, promise or agreement with the aim of influencing the return or imposition to an elective office;
- Pays monies to be used in bribery during elections; or
- Induces any person to vote or refrain
from voting at any election, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to
a maximum fine of
N500, 000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.
Furthermore, a voter commits an offence of bribery, where before or during an election directly or indirectly receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan or consideration for himself or another for voting or refraining to vote in an election. Such person is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of
N500, 000 or imprisonment
for 12 months or both.
Also, persons who aid in committing the above offences are also guilty and any candidate who has knowledge and consents to any of the acts mentioned above is guilty as well.
I humbly implore all politicians to stop destroying our Nation and our electoral process by offering bribes. I also implore all Nigerians to do the honourable thing and not sell their votes. We deserve credible leadership in Nigeria and not the opposite.
Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq