Residents Urged To Resist Vote Buying Ahead Of Bayelsa November Polls
By Imelda Nwajei, Yenagoa
Ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial off-cycle elections scheduled for November, residents of Bayelsa State have been charged to resist vote buying and selling.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Trade in Bayelsa State, Barrister Patience Abah stated this in an exclusive interview with Voice of Nigeria in Yenagoa, the state capital.
Abah said that citizens should protect their franchise and remember that it goes beyond the ballot box.
She also urged them to exercise their franchise, asking what value their vote would have if they sold it.
Abah said that for elections to be free and fair, laws, rules, and regulations must be obeyed.
“Democracy is not just about election every four years,” Abah said.
“Democracy is not just to cast vote, it is not just voting for candidate of your choice, it goes beyond that,” she stated.
She added that for the problem of vote buying and selling to stop, there must be accountability.
“Democracy is about representative form of government,” Abah said.
“It means that, there should be checks and balances from the citizens to their representatives.”
The permanent secretary also said that Nigeria and other African countries need to take democracy dialogue to the grassroots in order to reduce problems in the democracy system of government.
“We have to bring democracy dialogue to the grassroots.
“The dialogue is not meant for the elite alone but to be taken to various communities. We have to look for a way to deliver the message to the people for them to understand democracy,” she said.
Abah stressed that the words “good governance” and “democracy” are foreign terms, so they need to be unpacked and explained in local languages so that the common people can understand them.