In the just concluded 2019 elections in Kaduna state, citizens prove to politicians that selling their votes is not an option. This was revealed during the YIAGA AFRICA’s assessment of UpRight4Nigeria’s pre-election vote buying and selling sensitization rally which shows that the campaign successfully mitigated vote buying and selling in Kaduna, through the Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) project.
In Kaduna, over one thousand (1000) youths participated in UpRight4Nigeria’s pre-election vote buying/selling sensitization and rally in three local government areas of three senatorial zones where they pledged commitments to stand against vote buying during the 2019 general elections in their individual localities.
During the assessment exercise, YIAGA AFRICA’s program officer, Tracy Keshi, addressed the impact of this sensitization, stating that the general election in Kaduna state indicated high-resistance to vote buying and selling due to the prior sensitization on voters’ rights.
According to Keshi, “it is about reaching out to Nigerian youths especially as regards to vote buying and selling, which is a form of electoral corruption. To say, I am standing up right for Nigeria, and also to sign pledge cards to firmly attest that they were not going to sell or buy votes actually helped in reducing the level of vote buying and selling”, Keshi says.
A participant at the forum, Abubakar Aliyu, said that the sensitisation he had from YIAGA Africa and SCRAP-C, before the 2019 general elections, was an eye-opener to the effect of vote selling and vote buying.
“I was approached to sell my voter card during elections, I refused to sell it because it was the only weapon I have as a citizen of Nigeria to vote for the leader of my choice during the election. Thanks to YIAGA Africa for sensitisation.
Aliyu Musa, a student of Kaduna State University who, “thanks YIAGA Africa for enlightening us on corruption”, described corruption as a symptom that things, somewhere, were going in the wrong direction.
“It is not only government that engages in corrupt practices; as an individual, I have learnt that even playing truancy by staying away from school is corruption.
Ishaq Idris, a businessman, however, said that people who did not comply with laid down rules in the society and failed to be law-abiding citizens should be sanctioned. “If people should respect rules and regulations that govern the entity –family, enterprise, government, council, country — certainly the society will be corrupt free.
Umma Sani, another participant, expressed concern that some people in authority turned around to manipulate the system to their advantage. “Custodians of policies, rules and regulations should be held with a high sense of respect and accountability, they should wish to meet their creator with pure hearts,” he said.
YIAGA AFRICA had initially conducted advocacy visits to Kaduna state police command, pre-election town hall meetings with various youth groups and a campaign rally. This was followed by the post-election evaluation where close to 700 youths agreed to inculcate and nurture right attitudes to corruption, as they all signed Upright for Nigeria pledged cards, committing to stand up right for Nigeria.
A major achievement from the sensitization is this significant number of youths who signed the pledge cards and are very determined to carry on with this project as ambassadors of UpRight4Nigeria.