Don’t entice vulnerable electorate with gifts, monarch tells politicians
A Monarch, Eze Marcelenus Iheme, has advised politicians to allow vulnerable members of the society to vote candidates of their choice in the 2019 elections and not entice them with cash or material gifts.
Iheme is the traditional ruler of Umuezegwu Autonomous Community in Ihitte-Uboma Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo.
He gave the advice in his hometown of Umuezegwu during the conferment of awards and chieftaincy titles on worthy sons and daughters of the community during the celebration of the first anniversary of his reign on the throne.
He said that such practice, if unchecked, could destroy the society and render the electioneering process useless.
“Politicians must learn to allow the will of the people to prevail instead of buying their votes, so that the ideal value of the ballot will not be eroded.
“The electorate must, on the other hand, be upright and not sell their votes because the proceeds can never lift anyone out of poverty.”
Iheme said that if the current menace was not eliminated, the ballot box might lose its value in the coming years.
He stressed that money realised from vote selling and buying could neither lift one out of the shackles of poverty nor effectively address the high level of unemployment in the society.
Iheme commended all the recipients for being frontline philanthropists, adding that their recognition should spur them to more action for the community.
Meanwhile, some of the awardees urged synergy between the church and the traditional society to evolve better ways of providing jobs for the youths and thereby discourage them from selling their votes.
Mr Joseph Nwoha, a Priest of the Catholic Church and an awardee, noted that with the current high level of synergy between the community and the church geared toward youth empowerment, politicians who intended to buy votes during the elections would be disappointed.
Another awardee, Rev. Sis. Eric Edoziem, advised the youths to be guided by their conscience while voting in the forthcoming elections.
Edoziem promised to attract scholarship opportunities in order to discourage youths from engaging in thuggery and selling of their votes.
“A vote with conscience is a vote for dividends of democracy. To distract our youths from selling their votes, I shall attract scholarship opportunities and work closely with our king to provide skill acquisition centres in our community,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Kingsley Nkeonye, who was conferred with the chieftaincy title “Aka Ekpuchi Onwa’’, said that job creation would go a long way to ensure that youths engaged in productive activities.
He outlined some job creation efforts of the community to include the establishment of Ihitte-Uboma Farms and Cooperative Society, among others.