Democracy or Moneyocracy? Perspective on vote buying and electoral integrity in Nigeria’s recent elections
Although the practice of vote buying is not fundamentally new to Nigeria’s electoral politics, the phenomenon has assumed a worrisome dimension, going by experiences in off-cycle elections conducted in the Ekiti, Anambra, Ondo, Osun and Edo states as well as the 2019 general elections. The paper examines the practice of vote buying and its implications for electoral integrity in Nigeria. It problematises the practice of vote buying, locating it within the character of the post-colonial Nigerian state and the premium it places on state power. The paper contends that flagrant sharing of money, food and valuables among the voters by political contestants and party agents during elections qualifies Nigeria as a moneyocracy or ‘cash-and-carry’ democracy. It concludes that the practice of vote buying constitutes a grave threat, not only to the electoral process but also to the survival of democracy in Nigeria. The paper proffers recommendations for combating the scourge of vote buying.