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Aisha Yesufu to Nigerians: If votes don’t count, politicians won’t pay for it

Aisha Yesufu, activist and founder of Citizens Hub, says Nigerians should do away with the mentality that votes do not count.   Yesufu s...

Aisha Yesufu, activist and founder of Citizens Hub, says Nigerians should do away with the mentality that votes do not count.

 

Yesufu spoke on Thursday when she appeared on #FixPolitics Dialogue titled ‘Cash or Ballot: What should be the currency of democracy?’

 

The activist said Nigerians must leverage their voting power to bring about meaningful change.

 

Yesufu said if votes do not count as claimed, politicians would not pay for it.

 

She said citizens should take charge of the electoral process and wield the power of their votes to weed out bad behaviour.

 

“Citizens need to take charge of the electoral process. What we’ve had over time is that it’s the political class that has dictated. There is apathy, people are not interested and that’s why you’d often hear people say their votes don’t count but this is a conversation that is no longer on the table, people have realised that indeed their votes count because if votes don’t count, politicians would not pay for votes,” she said.

 

“The first thing that needs to happen is for the citizens to understand the power they have and begin to punish bad behaviour.”

 

Yesufu added that citizens will set the pace for political parties to follow when they vote for the right candidates irrespective of the money less qualified candidates might have paid to obtain forms.

 

“Inasmuch as even the parties, when they collect as much money as they want, there’s no law that has pegged the cost of any form, so there’s nothing we can do about it but when they put candidates who do not have competence, character and capacity, candidates who simply because they have money and probably have stolen our collective wealth and use our money to buy forms, they get there,” she added.

 

“But by the time the citizens refuse to vote those candidates and go for where there is competence, character and capacity, irrespective of what party it is or what money they’ve paid, then the party will begin to align themselves to doing the right thing because there is no longer incentives for them to behave badly and still get away with it — but if we allow a situation where it is who has the money, not who has the competence, that gets nominated by a party, then this process will continue.” 

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