By Christopher Tom, Uyo
Worried by the ugly trend of alleged vote buying that characterized the last general elections,the governorship candidates of Young Democratic Party(YDP) Arch Nya Etok and his counterpart of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party(ANRP) Iboro Otu Robert have vowed to approach International court for redress to avoid a replay of same incident in 2023 general elections.
Addressing Journalists at a press conference in Uyo in 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 in the election was unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.
Nya Etok said out of all the candidates that contested the 2019 governorship election in Akwa Ibom, he (Nya Etok ) and his colleague Iboro Otu Robert of ANRP were only candidates that 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”
Citing relevant sections of the Nigeria constitution, Etok said security and general welfare of the people supposed to be the primary objective of government but not so in Nigeria.
He said this ideology was the motivating factor that drove him to contest the 2019 governorship election in Akwa Ibom.
Etok confirmed that though he lost the election due to excessive vote buying, he had succeeded to put social governance on the ballot not minding how it was mortgaged by poverty of voters who were vulnerable to the antics of vote buyers.
He observed that vote buying was another terrible experience that threatened his mandate despite the campaigns in the mass media reaching out to people in the hinterlands.
He therefore warned that if the ugly trend is not checked, it may escalate to the entire West African region.
“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 “
Arch Nya Etok said he would declare total allegiance to whoever would be sworn in on May 29 as governor of Akwa Ibom but would join his colleagues to seek redress at International Court of Justice against vote buying so that future election in Nigeria would be secure.
The ANRP governorship candidate Iboro Otu Robert while corroborating said vote buying called for concern as over 70 per cent of the polling units in the state engaged in it frustrating the effort of genuine leaders who could not afford the money.
“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 stopped voters from choosing their leaders.”