Okiro’s sermon against vote buying – The Sun Nigeria


By Emeka Oraetoka

Almost two weeks ago, retired Inspector General of Police Sir Mike Okiro warned against vote buying and selling in the presidential primaries of registered political parties in Nigeria and the 2023 general election In a widely circulated statement program in Abuja, subtitled: “Interactive Media Platform of Presidential Aspirants” organized by the New Nigeria Dream Initiative (NNDI), Okiro warned of the danger posed by the buying and selling of votes in our body Politics.

Okiro strongly warned Nigerians to say “enough is enough” in 2023 by rejecting money from politicians during the voting process. Further, he said, “Nigerians will talk about the lack of leadership, but I say no, it is not enough! It takes two angles! If the leaders have shortcomings, we have the complacency of the followers! Because if leaders behave, we just laugh, wave and tell them walk and go! And they will do the same thing again. He went further by capturing how the situation will be if Nigerians don’t sell their votes like this: “But if we say no! Enough is enough, they are changing! You go there, they give you money for votes so you can vote for someone whether they perform well or not! They give you N5,000 and you search for four years. This means that the N5,000 is your due for four years. —

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Although some Nigerians have spoken out against vote buying in the past, what made Okiro’s intervention on vote buying and selling interesting and attention grabbing is the timing . Previously, people only talked about buying and selling votes during general elections, but Okiro warned against this, when political parties, especially the two main political parties, were preparing to elect candidates to various national and state posts.

As if he were a prophet and read the mood of Nigerians warning against the evil of vote buying and selling, Nigerians have turned to various news outlets to express their anger over in the highly monetized primary election of the main opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). The election would have been characterized by the buying and selling of votes. The election still elicits negative reactions from Nigerians. Had the PDP presidential candidates and electorate listened to Okiro’s advice, damage to the party’s image would have been avoided.

The negative consequences have already started to appear. The report recounts that the son of former Vice President of Nigeria Adam Namadi after losing the House of Representatives primary election in Kaduna despite tricking delegates with money into voting for him, decided to use a vigilante group to get his money back from these delegates. . Assuming there was resistance during the vigilante money-retrieval mission, some delegates could lose their lives. The Punch newspaper on June 2, 2022 published the story of a PDP delegate from Kaduna State, Tanko Sabo, who sold his vote for 12 million Naira. According to the report, the lucky delegate said he was donating the money to his constituent. Now, as Okiro postulated, Tanko Sabo and his constituents have been bought off for N12 million. They won’t have a say in how they are governed, if the buyer of Sabo’s vote wins the 2023 presidential election, because he had paid.

The backlash following the just-concluded PDP convention hit a new high when a popular TV presenter asked one of the candidates if he was disappointed at only getting one vote , and that his parents in the East did not vote for him. , he simply said “Only a few men remember their last names when dollars are placed on the table”.

Predictably, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) would work cooperatively to combat vote buying in our electoral system. Following Okiro’s plea, former Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan condemned the backward practice of buying and selling votes at party conventions. So many prominent Nigerians delightfully add their voices to condemn this shameful practice.

Just as well-meaning Nigerians praise Okiro for speaking out against vote buying in all its ramifications in no time, those who directly or indirectly benefit from the practice of corruption have, as one might expect, wait, took to social media to support the practice and called Okiro all sorts of bad names. Those who didn’t bother to read Okiro’s line of thought on buying and selling votes also joined the fray. Chief among them is social media presidential candidate Omoyele Sowere, who the late James Danbaba and Mike Okiro said was wanted on charges of worship and rape at the University of Lagos. He reportedly skipped bail and fled from justice, under the guise of activism. To show that Sowore is using both saharareporters and social media, to tarnish Okiro’s image, just when he was a CP of Lagos State, he made sure that the University of Lagos was cleared of the cult of which Sowore was an established capon;; has a problem with Okiro, here is the caption of what Saharareporters published on May 28, 2022, Exclusive: “Each delegate from the opposition party, PDP, receives more than $50,000 in bribes while Atiku, Wike, others are in a presidential primary plagued by corruption.” The question here is what is the difference between Okiro’s sermon against buying and selling votes as reported by many dallies including online newspapers but saharareporters and what Sowore reported on the date referenced?

As a solution to vote selling, Okiro urged Nigerians to ditch political party voting and ensure they bring in someone with a good track record who can bring them the dividends of democracy. Those are his exact words: “We’re not going to jump on the bandwagon, we’re going to vote for the people, regardless of their political party. It can be ABCD or UAW or any party. We will look at individuals. Is he good? “Look at his track record! Look at the people who are qualified, not where they come from, whatever party they belong to, to make sure that if they lead us, the democracy dividend will reach everyone.

Even before that time, Okiro pleaded with political party delegates to set aside overriding feelings in electing candidates. He said this, as reported by many Nigerian dailies on 23/5/2022 in an article he delivered as Chairman of the Board of the Nigeria First Foundation in Abuja and “specifically instructed the party delegates to be guided by conscience and not by pecuniary reasons when voting”. .

Nigerians can only ignore Sir Mike Okiro’s advice on the way forward, when it comes to buying and selling votes to their collective detriment. It will be remembered that as Inspector General of Police, between 2007 and 2009, Okiro introduced the bomb squad into the police when the country had not even witnessed terrorism, some uninformed Nigerians have criticized the introduction. They even accused Okiro of wasting government money on irrelevant businesses. But today, Okiro is hailed as the Nostradamus of our time because of his foresight.

Additionally, during Okiro’s tenure, he digitized police recruitment, making the force the first security agency in Nigeria to embrace technology in its recruitment process. Again, the forces of regression in Nigeria swooped down on him, saying that Nigeria is not yet ripe for the use of technology in recruitment. Even the National Assembly (NASS) has been no slouch in criticizing the adoption of the technology. What do we have today? All security agencies in Nigeria have gone digital in their recruitment process. It is recorded that Okiro championed a raise in police pay and got it. When President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015, he gave Mile Okiro, then chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), the marching order to recruit 10,000 police officers. The recruitment exercise was so successful that there were no complaints of unfairness from any section of Nigeria, no visible confrontation between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the police during the recruitment exercise.

It is safe to say that Sir Mike Okiro is a man who sees tomorrow and when he lends his voice on any issue in Nigeria he should be listened to. Politicians and the electorate alike, please pay attention to Okiro on the evil of vote buying and selling, especially during the selection process of candidates for elective positions at the level party.

• Emeka Oraetoka

Information Management Consultant and Researcher

Written from Abuja

E-mail: [email protected]

Mobile: 08056031187 09039094636.

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