By Silas Nwoha
Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, says sustained advocacy and enlightenment of the electorate will prevent vote-buying during elections in Nigeria.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, Kachikwu lamented the damage being done to the electoral process by vote-buying.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation is scheduled to go to the polls in 2023, in an election whose outcome may be determined by vote-buying.
Eighteen political parties are to slug it out in the election, fielding money bags, political veterans, technocrats and political upstarts.
Kachikwu spoke against the backdrop of the June 18 governorship elections in Ekiti, where voters allegedly received pecuniary inducements to vote for candidates.
“Advocacy is the key to combating the problem of vote-buying. Take the money but vote your conscience,’’ he advised.
He said that government should use its media organs to sensitise the electorate on the dangers of collecting money before casting their votes for candidates seeking political offices.
Kachikwu, who has come under the storm for alleged tax offences in the U.S., said that he was not at odds with U.S. tax authorities as alleged.
NAN reports that the media have been agog with reports that Kachikwu evaded taxes to the tune of two million dollars in the U.S., where he was an entrepreneur.
“I never evaded tax in the U.S. as reported in some newspapers. It was a case of tax assessment and I’ve sorted it out with my lawyers.
“I have no criminal case anywhere in the world. My detractors and political enemies are simply after me and my family.
“For me, silence is no longer golden but I demand that my political enemies should stick to issues, rather than dragging me to the mud in their bid to taint me.
Kachikwu, 48, who defeated a former Central Bank of Nigeria chief, Kingsley Moghalu, in a bitter contest for the ADC top post, said that political enemies had been after him since he clinched the presidential ticket.
“My family is being hounded by my political enemies this explains the reason why the media, including twitter have been agog that I evaded tax in the U.S.,’’ the presidential hopeful said.
Asked if the ADC would go into alliance with other political parties, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Roots Television, said the ADC was ready for alliance but that he preferred each party testing its popularity in the presidential contest.
He lamented current developments in the country, citing what he descried at mass unemployment, saying that the development had compelled people to sell their votes to make a living.
The presidential candidate said that the ADC would fashion out a blueprint that would change things for the better in Nigeria. (NAN)(www.nannews.com)
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa