OrderPaperToday – A member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Henry Okon Archibong, has said elections will continue to be seen as a business until elective offices are made less juicy in Nigeria.
Mr. Archibong, who represents Itu/Ibiono Ibom federal constituency of Akwa Ibom State, said for Nigeria to attain free, fair and credible elections, public good like social services, basic infrastructures, healthcare system and other social amenities must be put in place.
The two-term lawmaker, who spoke to OrderPaperNG in an exclusive interview, stated that corruption was a major factor in determining who becomes elected.
According to him, besides the electorates, officials of the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in most cases compromise the system thereby shortchanging Nigerians of good governance.
“First and famous, Nigerians are very very hungry. Again there are no social services in Nigeria. If you go to countries like America, no politician pays for school fees for anybody. No politician gives you money for child dedication, burials, weddings or even birthdays but here in Nigeria it is the function of the society. People are so hungry that to get anything from politicians, it is during the electioneering time.
“Another thing is, political offices have been made very juicy that people fight for it, people are ready to spend money to occupy those offices. Again, when people have to pay money to buy votes for you it becomes the highest bidder takes it all. It does not matter the quality your opponent has, if you don’t have money you can not go anywhere in Nigerian politics”.
Although, he submitted that the responsibility of doing away with rigging in our electoral process also lies with the citizens and urged everyone to rise to the situation.
“So the electorates must come to the realization that they need to fix things right. Imagine a situation where you have to pay somebody two hundred thousand for him to vote for you. A situation where you have to spend hundred million or five hundred million as the case may be for you to win an election or just for them to secure votes what do you think would happen when that person eventually wins. So some people feel when I get to office why should I be driving a car lower than what I used to drive before I got elected into the office.
“Election in Nigeria is like a business and nobody wants to invest in a business that he or she would loss. If you are putting in ten million naira to come and serve your people at the end of the day you should be able to get twelve million naira. And I agree there must be gain even if you are going to serve the people because you have put in money and sacrifice.”
The full interview will be published soon.