Abstract: The study investigated Vote Buying and Its Implications on 2023 General Elections in Akwa Ibom State: A Study of Voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim. The study was anchored by Social Exchange Theory. A cross-sectional survey research method was adopted, while a questionnaire was used to elicit responses from the respondents. With the aid of tables, descriptive statistics (frequency and percentage) were used to analyze the data collected. Findings show that the majority of the respondents (93.6%) claimed that respondents were aware of vote selling and vote buying in the 2023 general elections, although, naira redesign curbed it to a high extent. Therefore, many of the respondents (52.3%) claimed that they did not sell their vote. Also, most of the respondents (79.7%) pointed out that there, are no gender differences in vote selling among voters in Akwa Ibom. Therefore, larger numbers of the respondents (56.8%) agree that the common vote buying incentive usually offered during elections was money, but the naira redesign makes voting out of place during the 2023 general elections. (68%) of the respondents claimed that vote buying was not that much compared to the gubernatorial and state assembly elections. The study recommended that in order to successfully stop election fraud, including vote buying, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should build a strategic cooperation framework for effective monitoring of political parties’ campaign money, while the media and civil society organizations must step up their voter education and information campaigns about the drawbacks of vote selling, particularly how it drives up election costs, encourages political corruption, and threatens good governance.
Keywords: Vote Buying, Its Implications, 2023 General Elections, Akwa Ibom State, Voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim
Keywords: VOTE BUYING
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Table of Contents vi
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study________________________________________1
1.2 Statement of the Problem _______________________________________3
1.3 Objectives of the Study_________________________________________4
1.4 Research Questions____________________________________________4
1.5 Significance of the Study________________________________________5
1.6 Scope of the Study____________________________________________6
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms _________________________________6
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Conceptual Review___________________________________________20
2.2 Empirical Studies____________________________________________25
2.3 Theoretical Framework_______________________________________25
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design____________________________________________33
3.2 Research Method___________________________________________33
3.3 Study Population_____________________________________________34
3.4 Sample Size ________________________________________________34
3.5 Sampling Technique _________________________________________34
3.6 Instrument for Data Collection__________________________________35
3.7 Validity and Reliability of Research Instrument_____________________35
3.8 Data Collection Process________________________________________36
3.9 Method of Data Analysis_______________________________________36
3.10 Ethical Consideration__________________________________________37
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
4.0 Introduction _________________________________________________39
4.1 Data Analysis ________________________________________________39
4.2 Discussion of Findings_________________________________________48
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
5.2. Conclusions ________________________________________________51
5.3 Recommendations ___________________________________________52
5.4 Limitations to the Study_______________________________________54
The phrase “Going, going, gone!” is frequently chanted to announce the selection of the highest bidder for an item being sold at auction. Vote buying, a dubious practice that has pervaded Nigeria’s recent electoral process, is nicely captured by this process of offering items for auction, receiving bids, and then selling them to the highest bidder. The practice of buying votes is not new to Nigerian elections or to Africa in general. To the contrary, “almost 80% of voters from 36 African countries believe voters are bribed, either occasionally, frequently, or always,” according to Matenga. Additionally, during the most recent election, 16% of voters in African nations said they had been offered cash or products in exchange for their vote (Jide and Freedom 2018).
Vote-buying can be tagged as an emerging political phenomenon in Nigeria since the country returned to democracy in 1999, the implication is that such ugly tread in Nigeria current political landscape capable of rubbing the society of credible winners of election as the money bank candidates or politicians always win the polls which has aftermath effects on the general public (Adeniran, 2019)
Oladapo, Oyewale, & Abayomi (2020) wrote that the 2015/2019 general elections in Nigeria witnessed an explosion in the use of the term “vote buying” in academic and media circles. Oladapo, Oyewale, & Abayomi (2020), defined vote buying as the exchange of private material benefits for political support. Adding that, vote buying is seen as a contract, or perhaps an auction in which the voter sells his or her vote to the highest bidder.
Vote buying is equally describe as any form of financial, material or promissory inducement or reward by a candidate, political party, agents or supporters to influence voters to cast their votes or even abstain from doing so in order to enhance the chances of a particular contestant to win an election (Oladapo, Oyewale, & Abayomi, 2020). Thus, any practice of immediate or promised reward to a person for voting or refraining from voting in a particular way can be regarded as vote buying.
Owen (2013) pointed that in most democracies, vote buying is considered an electoral offence. Vote buying is prohibited in Nigeria by the Article 130 of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended, which states that: A person who corruptly by himself or by any other person at any time after the date of an election has been announced, directly or indirectly gives or provides or pays money to or for any person for the purpose of corruptly influencing that person or any other person to vote or refrain from voting at such election, or on account of such person or any other person having voted or refrained from voting at such election; or being a voter, corruptly accepts or takes money or any other inducement during any of the period stated in paragraph of this section, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N100,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both (Owen, 2013).
The vote buying is not only occurring during elections but also during political primaries. This is evidence in most primaries in Nigeria. The recent political primaries are another pointer to this phenomenon, where the top political gladiators from usually All Progress Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) exemplified this.
Vanguardng (2022) wrote that in the just concluded primaries of both APC and PDP, the International Coalition for Democracy and Good Governance, (ICDGG) described both exercises as lacking in every essence of democracy. In his view, the Executive Director, Barrister Emmanuel Anene noted that, the exercise was glaring that the presidential primary elections of the two major parties, PDP and APC were heavily monetized and the highest bidders emerged flag bearers of the parties.
According to Anene (2022) in advanced democracies, parties’ standard bearers at all levels are elected based on competence and capacity to perform in various offices they desire and not on the basis of how deep their pockets are (Vanguardng, 2022).
In a similar vein, a study conducted by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) reveals that vote buying has become a significant threat to the Nigerian electoral system. The study shows that vote buying is often perpetrated by politicians who want to win elections at all costs, and it leads to voter apathy and low turnout (Centre for Democracy and Development, 2019).
Moreover, a report by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows that vote buying is a growing concern, and the commission has taken measures to combat the menace. One of the measures taken by INEC is the introduction of a new technology called the Z-Pad, which enables voters to report incidents of vote buying in real-time (Independent National Electoral Commission, 2020).
However, with the recent Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s naira redesign this made it more difficult for politicians and their supporters to provide cash to buy votes. This to a large extent lead to a reduction in vote buying during the 2023 general elections (Central Bank of Nigeria, 2023).
It should be noted that the redesign of the naira alone may not be enough to eliminate vote buying in Nigeria’s electoral system. Vote buying is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive approach to address (Olorunnipa, 2019). The introduction of the new naira design is just one of the many measures that need to be taken to address this problem as some politicians and party supporters still manage to do cash transfer due to sanity of cash posed by the naira redesign. It is against this backdrop that the research investigates vote buying and its implications on 2023 general elections in Akwa Ibom State with a particular focus on voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim.
1.2 Problem Statement
Vote buying was not highly pronounced like now when Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999. It was gradually becoming a political issue in 2011 and much noise in 2015 but fully recognized and became a serious political threat in 2019, since then lots of campaigns to curb the phenomenon was launched to include media campaigns and various NGOs awareness campaigns.
At present, there are few empirical studies on the phenomenon especially on awareness in curbing this emerging political problem in Nigeria. The happening in the recent Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections put the level of awareness into different perceptive, has lots of voters claimed that, they were offered money before voting in EKiti State and still vote for their intended candidate but that was not the case in Osun gubernatorial election.
However, how much has media anti-vote buying campaigns and other awareness armed voters against vote selling as vote buying menace created different imprints on the mind of Nigerians, some view it as nothing but many have negative perceptive about it, Hence, the research investigates vote buying and its implications on 2023 general elections in Akwa Ibom State with a particular focus on voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of this research is to investigate vote buying and its implications on 2023 general elections in Akwa Ibom State. However, the specific objectives are:
- To examine the awareness level of voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim towns on danger inherent in vote buying in Nigeria elections.
- To determine the perception of voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim towns toward vote buying in 2023 Akwa Ibom gubernatorial election.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extents do voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim towns are aware of danger inherent in vote buying in Nigeria elections?
- What is the perception of voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim towns toward vote buying in 2023 Akwa Ibom gubernatorial election?
1.5 Scope of the Study
The study which research investigates Vote Buying and Its Implications on 2023 General Elections in Akwa Ibom State has been narrowed in scope to voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim towns. Thus, the geographical scope of this study was within Akwa Ibom. The choice of voters in Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Ikot Etim towns is due to its proximity to the researcher, inadequate time to study all voters in Akwa Ibom. Also, the demographic factors of the respondents will be carefully study before the administration of research instrument such factors include: age, gender, academic level e.t.c
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study investigates voters’ perceptions on vote buying in the 2022 Akwa Ibom gubernatorial election The findings of this study will benefits lots of groups and individuals, prominent among the beneficial include but not limited to the electorates (students/youths), policy makers, Independent National Electoral Commission, politicians/Political parties, Media organization, NGOs, researchers/students.
- Electorates (women/youths): This study’s findings will serve as eyes openers for the women/youth who happens to be the majority of the voters to the dangers inherent in selling their votes especially is counter-productive to their future and prevent them from having Nigeria of their dream.
- Politicians/Political Parties: Equally, politicians, political candidates and political parties will also see reasons to be proactive and change their strategies from buying vote to infrastructure development, provision of job/employment opportunities and other activities that will improve people’s social welfare ahead of the time they will need people, automatically, they have bought electorates’ vote ahead of election.
- Media Organizations and NGOs: One of the core agents of creating anti-vote buying campaigns is mass media particularly the broadcast media, in this study, the media will see its place in curbing vote buying by strategically design several anti-vote buying campaigns that can change voters mind from selling their vote for any forms of material or immaterial things.
- Policy Makers and the Independent National Electoral Commission: The findings will help policy makers and the Independent National Electoral Commission to provide appropriate strategies of stopping vote buying among the electorates in Nigeria while the findings will equally design strategies to campaign against it effectively.
- Researchers/students: Lastly, the study will benefit students and future researchers, as it will be a reference point for related studies and also add to the already existing pool of knowledge. It will serve as empirical studies that both students and researchers who may want to carry out a similar study in the future.
1.7 Operational definition of Terms
Voters’ Perceptions: Perception, in this study, refers to the believe and attitude of electorates towards buying behaviour.
Vote Buying: In this research, the vote buying means the act of inducing voters usually with monetary benefit in order to influence their voting intention.
2023 General Election: This refers to the February 2023 general election held in Nigeria.
VOTE BUYING & ITS IMPLICATIONS ON 2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN AKWA IBOM STATE
Format = MS Word, Price = ₦5000, Chapter = 1-5, Pages = 70 References = Yes, Questionnaire =Yes, Table of Contents = Yes and Abstract = Yes