Civil rights’ groups, Adopt-A-Goal Development Initiative and Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative, have jointly urged residents of Anambra State to go en masse and cast their votes at the governorship election on Saturday.
The groups advised the voters to reject any temptation to sell their votes for money as some bad elements in politics will approach them.
They, however, stated that a single vote is worth N1.44million (one million, four hundred and forty-four million naira) based on a N30,000 minimum monthly wage for four years.
Both groups disclosed this in a statement signed by their respective directors, Ariyo-Dare Atoye and Obinna Nwagbara, which was made available to SaharaReporters on Friday.
The statement was titled, “Anambra Election: Vote Is Life; the minimum financial cost of one vote is N1.44m.”
The statement reads, “As voters in Anambra prepare to cast their ballots in the state’s gubernatorial election this Saturday, Adopt A Goal for Development Initiative and Youth and Students Advocates for Development Initiative (YSAD) wish to use this opportunity to encourage voters, the candidates, stakeholders and all parties to see the electoral exercise on Saturday as another practical step towards entrenching democratic norms of free choice, tolerance and respect for the expressed will of the people in our society.
“We specially invite the voters to reflect deeply on the profound import of exercising their sacred franchise on the election day and what it means for the future of the state, our children and how and who shapes our society for the next four years at least.
“We call on voters to reject any temptation to sell their votes to mercantile politicians who understand politics strictly from the viewpoint of commerce where votes are bought and sold, where only the man with the deepest pocket, not the one with fine ideas and programmes, win.
“It pains us to realise that many voters in the country today are yet to fully understand the value of one vote and how that one vote can impact their lives, for good or for ill. It must have become evident to everyone today that Vote is Life.
“Also, as you go to the poll, we urge you to think about the minimum cost of your vote. Is your vote not capable of earning you employment if you elect a good leader or securing your job as a wage earner? What is the benefit of selling your vote at N5,000 or a little less or more to a candidate who eventually would deny you employment, treat payment of salaries as irritation and will not commit to the dividends of electoral democracy?
“To understand the significance of your vote, we use the value of minimum of wage for four years which we would put modestly at N1.44 million. So if anyone is offering you less than this amount (N30, 000 × 12 × 4) for a vote at the very minimum, then you are being heavily shortchanged.
“Beyond just the salaries that you would be trading off when you sell your votes, consider also other dividends of democracy like the provision of modern healthcare, urban and rural roads and the entire ecosystem around education. All of these would never be in the consideration of the man who paid his way to the office and you, and the society at large would be worse off in this mercantilist arrangement in a democracy.
“Our message to the voters, therefore, is to: shun all forms of vote-trading tomorrow; go out on time to vote; perform your civic duties and stay vigilant. Do not allow anyone deceive you. Your vote is your life and power, don’t sell it for any amount as doing so would amount to making yourself a slave to your conscience and greedy politicians in your fatherland.
“Lastly, we call on INEC, the political parties, security agents and all connected to tomorrow’s exercise to respect the electoral will of the people, play by the rules and avoid plunging the state into further chaos by seeking to manipulate the outcome of the poll.
“Adopt A Goal and YSAD join all well-meaning Nigerians and our friends across the world in praying for the emergence of the best candidate as governor-elect at the end of Saturday’s election.”