We have pretended for too long, since the birth of the current democratic dispensation in 1999 that our democracy is growing. The hard fact which we must honestly accept as of paramount importance in the Nigerian experiment, especially for the future, is our pattern of democratic transition that is bedeviled by several negative forces. A highly visible pitfall is the feverish urge of the populace to be part of the political leadership. It is suspected that the rush has been influenced largely by the remuneration attached to political offices, as well as other perquisites of office which have made politics to be the most lucrative vocation in Nigeria today. The development has brought along with it highly condemnable acts of political brigandage and other heinous crimes.
And we have as many as 91 political space, a development that has widened the political space. Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Hon Justice Niki Tobi (now deceased) once alerted that: ”“the way politics is played in this country frightens me every dawning day. ”It is a fight to finish affair. ”Nobody accepts defeat at the polls.” This view was complemented by former Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Hon. Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais, who has pointed out that the mindsets of Nigerians on democratic contests are largely irrational.” The ”cash and carry” politics, for which the masses now mortgage their rights and future, upon receiving miserable amounts to sell their votes is rather disturbing and shameful. If the truth must be told, we have indeed gotten to a crossroads in the arena of political transition, with the relative ease with which all political parties now perfect the art of rigging or winning elections at all costs. We must steer back the ship of state along that course on the basis of which our country was founded.
TERRIFIC HEADLINES – SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
In line with our policy of promoting social responsibility and supporting moves that could evolve an enduring democratic culture, TERRIFIC HEADLINES will publish regularly, some salient issues and facts as public enlightenment part of our public enlightenment obligation in public and national interest, to complement the efforts of INEC. Those developments may be amusing; but they pose great danger to the future of the younger generation who are born into the politics of military rule and the current politics of the fourth republic
DON’T COLLECT MONEY – INEC WARNS
Today, we shall be going through an INEC document that contains details of violation of Electoral laws by people who bribe during elections. We enjoin you to please circulate this piece as widely as possible, in order for sanity to prevail on our political arena. Prospective voters are warned to note that ignorance is not an excuse in Law.
BRIBERY & CONSPIRACY
- (1) Any person who does any of the following:
(a) Directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf corruptly makes any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement to or for any person, in order to induce such person to procure or to endeavour to procure the return of any person as a member of a legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election;
(b) upon or in consequence of any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement corruptly procures, or engages or promises or endeavours to procure, the return of any person as a member of a legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election;
(d) advances or pays or causes to be paid any money to or for the use of any other person, with the intent that such money or any part thereof shall be expended-in bribery at any election, or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in discharge or repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any election;
(e) after any election directly, or indirectly, by himself, or by any other on his behalf receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting, or having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting or having induced any candidate to refrain from canvassing for votes for himself at any such election, commits an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.
(2) A voter commits an offence of bribery where before or during an election directly or indirectly himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration, office, place or employment, for himself, or for any other person, for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at any such election.
Wrongful voting and false statements
- Any person who:
(a) votes at an election or induces or procures any person to vote at an election, knowing that he or such person is prohibited from voting thereat; or
(b) before or during an election, publishes any statement of the withdrawal of a candidate at such election knowing it to be false or reckless as to its truth or falsity; or
(c) before or during an election publishes any statement as to the personal character or conduct of a candidate calculated to prejudice the chance of election of the candidate or to promote or procure the election of another candidate and such statement is false and was published without reasonable grounds for belief by the person publishing it that the statement is true, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.
Voting by unregistered person
- 127. (1) Any person who knowingly votes or attempts to vote in a Constituency in respect of which his name is not on the register of voters commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N100,000 or to imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.
(2) Any person who knowingly brings into a polling unit during an election a voters card issued to another person commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N 100,000 or to imprisonment for 6 months or both,
Disorderly conduct at elections
- Any person who at an election acts or incites others to act in a disorderly manner commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.
Offences on Election Day
- (1) No person shall on the date on which an election IS held do any of the following acts or things in a polling unit or within a distance of 300 metres of a polling unit-
- Canvass for votes;
- Solicit for the vote of any voter;
- Persuade any voter not to vote for any particular candidate;
- persuade any voter not to vote at the election
- shout slogans concerning the election:
- be in possession of any offensive weapon or wear any dress of have any facial 0; other decoration which in any event is calculated to intimidate voters;
- exhibit, wear or tender any notice, symbol, photograph or party card referring to the election;
- use any vehicle bearing the colour or symbol of a political party by any means whatsoever;
- loiter without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote;
- Snatch or destroy any election materials; and
- Blare siren.
- No person shall within the vicinity of a polling unit or collation centre on the day of which an election is held:
- convene, hold or attend any public meeting during the hours of poll as may be prescribed by the Commission;
- unless appointed under this Act to make official announcements, operate any megaphone, amplifier or public address apparatus;
- wear or carry any badge, poster, banner; flag or symbol relation to a political party or to the election,
(3) A person who contravenes any of the provisions of this section commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N 100,000 or imprisonment for 6 months for every such offence,
(4) Any person who snatches or destroys any election material shall be liable on conviction to 24 months imprisonment
130.A person who-
(a) Corruptly by himself or by any other person at any time after u date of an election has been announced, directly or indirectly give or provides or pays money to or for any person for the purpose c corruptly influencing that person or any other person to vote ” refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election; or