By: Launko Ajanlekoko

“We have heard all your talks and your admonitions on not selling our votes to ‘greedy’ politicians but how do we survive for four years if we don’t sell our votes? Will you feed us?”

This was the question of a furious tall black lady who had her infant strapped at her back and five other children clustering around her during a day event organised by the International Centre for Ethical and Moral Relations (ICEMR) themed ‘citizen’s engagement in achieving electoral sanctity’.

The lady seemingly infuriated by the speech of the speaker who spoke on ‘Votes Buying and Electoral Corruption’ raised her hands immediately the speaker said “selling your vote doesn’t alleviate your poverty, it rather makes you poorer, mentally and financially”.

“You come in droves every four years and tell us not to sell our votes. That it is corruption. That it is morally depraving. And this and that. Yet you offer us nothing than your saliva and sweats!” she exclaimed after she was flagged on to talk by the speaker.

“Need I remind you that the politicians also come every four years and give us what they give us and it is on that that we live and survive,” she added.

“You see for my family, it is tradition. My husband is not here because he has gone to collect the PVCs of those that don’t intend to go out and vote. We have prospective buyers who will buy and vote on their behalf.

“If not that we sell our votes and help others that are willing too only God knows where we will be by now!

“Take for instance, the last time we had an election. My family was given two bags full of Kuli Kuli and Garri to Vote for Party A. On the election day, party B offered us a cylinder full of groundnut and some bags of Garri. That is what we have been eating for the past 4 years. And it only finished just yesterday, this yesterday.

“Tomorrow, I hear that Party B intends to give 5,000 and Party A 4000! My husband is working for party A and I am working for Party B. You know what that means double double!

“Let us do some analysis. Take for instance my husband is given 5000 and he brings it home. We have 1460 days in 4 years. 5000naira divided by 1460 days means we have a whooping sum of 3naira to be spent per day!

“And we are not taking any chances this year, my children— you see that one 9, this 8, this 7, and this one 6 have all be registered for PVC so they will be having their share of the thousand tomorrow. You know what that means, you know?

“Now you tell us not to sell our votes, how do you expect us to survive?” she concluded while the other women like her in the room kept jeering.