Vote buying is a crime against democracy and humanity

Father John Damian (middle) leads a prayer against vote buying and other forms of bribery


A few days ago, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) blamed former President Goodluck Jonathan for introducing vote buying into Nigerian politics. He said: “President Jonathan started this massive vote-buying in Nigeria and the media must playback and do proper interview and investigation to discover the origin of vote-buying.” Can two wrongs ever make a right? What are the implications of vote buying?

There is no doubt, 2015 as noted was characterised by vote buying. The two giant political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and APC were paying people peanuts to vote against their conscience in the presence of security agencies. The worst part of it was that the government could not even pay workers’ salary, yet they were sharing money indiscriminately and irrationally. Other minor parties that could not share money failed woefully.

The origin of vote buying notwithstanding, vote buying has so many negative implications. It is a crime not just against the principle of democracy, but also against humanity. It is a direct form of bribery and the highest form of corruption. The book of Deuteronomy 16:19 condemns vote buying and other forms of bribery: “You shall not pervert justice; you shall not show partiality, nor take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.” Vote buying perverts justice. It blinds the eyes and makes one foolish. In fact, the most foolish person on earth is one who takes bribe before taking any decision.

With vote buying, it is very difficult to conduct a free and fair election. With vote buying, power will forever remain in the hands of a few greedy politicians. The government will continue to owe salaries, because most of the money used for vote buying is meant for salaries and other developmental projects.

Incidentally, Nigerians were fed up with bribery and corruption, which was why they voted for APC. Although the ruling party has established the origin of vote buying, but that is not enough to justify this evil and unjust practice. The worst thing that can happen to this nation is to use corrupt means to fight corruption. Evil cannot be vindicated with evil. Two wrongs can never make a right. The attempt to fight corruption with corruption can only lead to a worst form of corruption.

The present politics of money is an indirect way of encouraging vote buying. Nigerians need to know why one must pay N43 million Naira just to buy a presidential nomination form? Where does one get such money if not through embezzlement of public fund? With the current minimum wages, it is unrealistic to raise such amount of money in one’s entire lifetime.

Why are EFCC and other anti-crime agencies not investigating the source and purpose of this huge amount of money? Even if such amount of money is contributed by other party members, as some claimed, is it not a form of bribery, which must be refunded and compensated through contracts and political appointments?

The Qur’an not only condemns bribery, but it also condemns acceptance of bribery. “And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly or send it in bribery to the rulers in order that they might aid you to consume a portion of wealth of the people in sin, while you know is unlawful” (Surah 2:188).

This is exactly what is playing out in our country today – The act of bribing rulers in order to team up with them to consume public fund is a sin. One cannot eat his cake and have it. Whoever allows his conscience to be bought with money is a fool! And must one day face the wrath of Allah and the anger of the Most High God.

In this article:
John Damian
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