Stomach Infrastructure: The Poverty of the Nigerian Electorate
AbstractAfter nearly fifty-nine years of Independence, Nigeria is by all standards of measurement, a poor country. Poverty is endemic in Nigeria. As a result of this, money politics and vote buying have taken the centre stage in political activities. This is because parties and candidates have shown by their conduct during political campaigns, that good party manifestoes and integrity of candidates jostling for public offices are no longer sufficient to guarantee electoral success; thus, the resort to vote buying. On the other hand, the electorates too have obviously demonstrated cynical electoral behaviour by the readiness to sell their votes to the highest bidder. This uncharitable practice constitutes a blemish on public policy and on the electoral process. Politicians influence the electorate with money, food and other items by politicians. The paper argued that democracy does not thrive in a poverty infested environment and thus attributes the major challenges facing the present democratic experiment in Nigeria to the existence of poverty on a large scale. The paper observed that electioneering in Nigeria has been marred by contradictions that threaten objectivity in voting for a preferred candidate during elections. It concluded that to sustain Nigeria's nascent democracy, the political class must embrace good governance through prudent use of available resources, provision of critical infrastructures and social amenities, conduct of free and fair elections, and the promotion of accountability, transparency and the rule of law.
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