The NAS wants to end electoral impunity
Sept. 14 (THEWILL) – The National Association of Seadogs (NAS) aka Pyrates Confraternity, Atlantic Shores Deck, Eket, Akwa Ibom State, has sought to end electoral impunity and vote trading in the country.
Mr. Utibe Ikot, the Capon of the Bridge, said in a statement issued on Wednesday and made available to THEWILL in Uyo, to commemorate the International Day of Democracy, celebrated globally on September 15 every year. .
Ikot called on the electorate to respect and promote the principles of democracy by fighting against electoral impunity in the general elections of 2023.
The International Day of Democracy was established by a resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, encouraging governments to strengthen, review and consolidate democracy.
He denounced that the electoral process in Akwa Ibom and the country in general was becoming increasingly transactional and riddled with vote buying and selling, known as vote trading.
“During the just-concluded primaries to produce candidates for the major political parties in the state.
“For example, there were ubiquitous media reports and personal testimonies of brazen pure vote selling and buying among aspirants and delegates.
“Many midshipmen are said to have encamped delegates in hotels and other unfamiliar locations, to avoid being hit by opposing midshipmen.
“Party delegates have a heavy responsibility to allow their parties to present the best candidates to the electorate, but unfortunately, being a party delegate has become a lucrative business, to the detriment of democracy and citizens.
The capoon noted that it was discouraging that election offices were set up for the highest bidder, reminiscent of a typical auction.
“Without a doubt, the ever-increasing pressures resulting from economic difficulties and volatilities such as unemployment and inflation in the country, vis-à-vis the state, have made voters even more vulnerable and desperate, to where the temptation to exchange their votes and also to cash out of the electoral process.
He said, however, that the situation was further exacerbated by the state’s entrenched political class determined to protect and perpetuate its vested political interests.
Ikot explained that as the state prepares for the 2023 elections, citizens (voters) should exercise caution because once votes are sold, voters tacitly lose the vote.
right to hold political office holders accountable for their stewardship in office.
“As vote trading (buying and selling) enters the room; competence, integrity, character and track record fly out the window.
“Unfortunately again, this transactional form of democracy suits corrupt politicians, who have continually impoverished citizens, knowing that they could always come back in four years to buy their way to political office, while their constituents remain impoverished. , trapped in a vicious political cycle of poverty, deprivation, unemployment, insecurity, vulnerability and powerlessness.
He, however, advised citizens to regain their power and save the political system from the clutches of corrupt politicians, who do not want the good of the state in particular, and the country in general.
It inspires hope to know that many more young people have registered to vote and are eagerly waiting to make their voices heard through the ballot.
However, a more concerted collective effort is needed, as electoral impunity, which manifests itself in vote-swapping, cannot simply be removed.
“Citizens must be systematically educated or sensitized against the exchange of votes for money; and the relevant government agencies must institute measures, not only to discourage the selling and buying of votes, but also to punish offenders.
“The National Association of Seadogs, Atlantic Shores Deck, in light of this, commemorates the International Day of Democracy 2022, calling on all well-meaning Akwa Ibomites in particular, and Nigerians in general, to unite to put end to electoral impunity in the next elections, avoiding the buying and selling of votes.
“Major political parties must learn to campaign on issues, merit, a strong manifesto and track their candidates to ensure they deliver on their political promises and gain the trust of the people.
“We call to action to raise awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts, share knowledge and inspire collective action. Churches, schools, social groups all have a shared responsibility to advocate for a more concerted effort to mobilize the electorate to vote.
“Conscientiously, motivated by what candidates have to offer in terms of ability, integrity and track record, not by mercantile and fiduciary considerations. The Akwa Ibom State Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission (EARCOM) has a key role here and is called upon to rise to the occasion.
He urged community leaders, youth and women leaders to refrain from acting as clearing houses and intermediaries for corrupt politicians. he maintained.
He called for active collaboration with relevant bodies such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that corrupt politicians can no longer buy the votes of vulnerable and uninformed citizens.
Political parties are also called upon to respect the rules and avoid vote trading, thus becoming true agents of democratic ideals.
He stressed that the INEC, in partnership with the police and other security agencies at polling stations, has a duty to protect voters so that they can vote according to their conscience, without undue influence or coercion by unscrupulous party agents.