The Osun Srate chapter of the All Pŕogressive Congress (APC) has urged the Federal Government to address urgently the worsening problem of electoral fraud in the country before it destroys the nation’s fledgling democracy.
The party, in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Barr Kunle Oyatomi circulated to the media in Osogbo on Sunday, November 6, 2016 said that, “if this is not done, our democracy which is already seriously at risk from massive corruption will collapse sooner than we imagine”.
The APC was reacting to recent revelations by the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje that PDP chieftains had attempted to bribe him with N500 million when he was in charge in the state of Osun in 2014, so that he could rig the Osun governorship election in favour of the party.
Agbaje rejected the offer and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the people’s choice, won that election.
Although the APC admitted that electoral manipulation has been part of the country’s electoral system ever since independence, it however claimed that, “since the PDP came to power in 1999, electoral fraud in Nigeria has escalated exponentially into a major crisis for democracy”.
The party went on to assert that ‘except severe punitive measure are introduced and rigourously enforced against electoral fraudsters, this corruption will sooner than later kill our democracy.
“If those who try to rig elections have their way in whatever form, the corruption syndrome we are now addressing will only be suppressed, not eradicated.
‘”Those who have the intention to rig will go ahead to steal if they succeeded,” the statement said.
The party therefore urged the government to ‘cut the taproot of corruption in the polity, which is electoral fraud, from which all malfeance in governance is sustained.
“Those who give and those who take bribes to influence electoral outcome should serve long terms of imprisonment with hard labour. Except it is that punitive,”‘ the APC concluded, ‘it will not be a deterrent’.