Isaac Job, Uyo
Worried by the ugly trend of alleged vote buying that characterized the last general elections, the governorship candidates of Young Democratic Party(YDP), Nya Etok and his counterpart of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party(ANRP), Iboro Otu Robert have vowed to approach the International Court for Justice for redress to avoid a replay of same in the 2023 general elections.
Addressing correspondents in Uyo yesterday on their assessment of the conduct of last governorship and state House of Assembly elections, the duo maintained that their experiences in vote buying displayed by rich politicians during the election was unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
Nya Etok said out of all the candidates that contested the 2019 governorship election in the state, they were the only candidates who refused to surrender their mandates to Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“I have been a participant in all the electioneering process of this country from 1999 such that I decided to leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join other Nigerians in the formation of Young Democratic Party (YDP) in 2015 as my ideology was not in tandem with the PDP.
“Understanding the system, I discovered that the political system is of the rich, by the rich and for the rich,” he added.
Citing relevant sections of the constitution, Etok said security and the general welfare of the people ought to be the primary objective of government, but not so in Nigeria.
Etok confirmed that even though he lost the election due to excessive vote buying, he has succeeded to put social governance on the ballot no minding how it was mortgaged by voters who were vulnerable to the antics of vote buyers.
He therefore warned that if the ugly trend is not checked, it may escalate to the entire West African region, adding that “the experience on the field was another ball game. Vote buying was another terrible monster that denied me of my mandate. If we are not careful, vote buying would escalate to the entire West Africa.”
According to him, he would join his colleague to seek redress at the International Court of Justice against vote buying so that future elections in Nigeria would be secured.
The ANRP governorship candidate, Iboro Otu Robert while collaborating the allegations made by Etuk, said the spread of vote buying calls for concern as vote buying took place in over 70 per cent of the polling units in the state.
“Some people were molested, shot and brutalized during the election, but political parties silenced them. Vote buying is a crime against humanity and it must be checked. When you buy votes, you stop voters from choosing their leaders,” he asserted.