This study was carried out to investigate the impact of vote buying on the outcome of the 2023 gubernatorial election in Ekiti state The study targeteda total number of 180 respondents. Forty of them were purposively selected for the qualitative study. Two party activists in Ekiti state were also interviewed to support the data. This sample size is derived from sample size calculation. Using questionnaire to elicit from the sampled respondents, the data collected was analysed through frequency and mean score.The results obtained from the findings exposed the factors that facilitate vote buying before and during the election it was revealed that some electorates see selling of their vote as a means to also eat in the national cake that politicians are enjoying,that political parties that can’t provide capable candidates but can afford to buy votes use this means as a way to buy their candidates into power, thatmany candidates think without money and their ability to pay their way into people’s hearts, one way or the other, they wouldn’t win elections, that in their political leaders aids vote buying as the only moment they get paid, that weakness of INEC or the connivance of the security forces to be with buyers of votes and peddlers of the Permanent Voter Card facilitate vote buying before and during the election. The results obtained from these findings indicated the chains of operation and methods of vote buying before and during election. It revealed that some political party agents approached voters who had PVCs and convinced them to vote for their parties. that Before election day, voter buyers go from one house to another to share money to electorates, that the vote buyers demand prove that the voter actually voted for the agreed candidate using various means, that the payment is done before or after the actual voting, and could be within the vicinity of the polling station or farther away, that the security forces were tipped off to be indifference to the cash inducement of voters. Therefore, the study recommends that the electoral umpire INEC should improve on the usability of the Card Readers. It was observed by some election observers that the Card Readers were slow and sometimes malfunctioned in some polling units.







1.1     Background of the Study

One of the pillars that support every democracy is elections. Elections seem to have become a major factor in the stabilization and democratization of emerging democracies. It forms an important pillar that places the power to govern with the people. To Boafo-Arthur (2016) elections are important to a nation’s construction and the electorates since it performs the role of a litmus test for democratic institutions. It ensures that democratic pillars including rule of law, ballot secrecy, separation of powers, independence of the judiciary and many more are strengthened.

Elections therefore allow citizens to take part in governance. Thus, elections give the citizens the opportunity to select their leaders. Electorates use elections to evaluate how leadership or governments have excelled in all facets of national life such as education, economy, agriculture, corruption, standard of living and others. It is therefore a cardinal process through which power is allocated, and representative democracy is actualized.

Elections and more specifically voting are important mechanisms for selecting leaders for political offices in every democracy. They aggregate preferences, help select better public officials, and provide incentives for politicians to act in the interest of the voters they represent (Persson & Tabellini, 2010) since it is through elections that candidates are able to appeal and explain their intended policies to electorates before they are voted into power.

Chazan (2015) identifies two main functions of elections in the world and particularly in Africa that is whether to change a regime and its leadership or to seek approval from the electorates to enhance democratic and constitutional transition. Several countries in the world currently select their national leaders through multi-party elections. However, in some developing countries especially in Africa, the quality of elections still varies widely as elections have been plagued with problems such as ballot fraud, intimidation, multiple voting, low voter education, snatching of ballot boxes, violence, giving out of electoral incentives or buying of votes and others (Stokes, 2015; Schaffer, 2015; Kramon, 2014).

Of particular interest is the phenomenon of vote buying which has become a dominant feature of elections. Understood as direct cash payments for or exchange of gifts for voting in a particular way or for showing up to vote, vote buying is, alongside other forms of  clientelist/mercantilist politics, a common phenomenon in today's developing world (Robert, 2015). Vote buying has been widespread in many countries that have continued along the path towards democracy. In the words of Vicente (2015), vote buying happens frequently in many parts of the world.

Indeed, vote buying which in some literature is referred to as clientelism has a long history. The use of electoral incentives to buy votes has been a frequent practice during electoral campaigns and elections in several developing and developed countries. It was prevalent in the Roman Republic (Yakobson, 2015), Britain and the United States (O’Leary, 2012) and the phenomenon still remains common around the world (Schaffer, 2007). Scholars have documented widespread use of these campaign strategies in countries such as Nicaragua (Gonzalez-Ocantos, Jonge, Mel´endez, & Nickerson, 2012), Argentina (Brusco, Nazareno & Stokes, 2014; Stokes, 2015), Taiwan (Wang & Kurzman, 2014), and Lebanon (Corstange, 2012), as well as African countries like Sao Tome and Prıncipe, Nigeria (Bratton, 2014; Vicente, 2014), Kenya and Ghana (Kramon & Posner, 2013). For example, Hicken, Leider, Ravanilla and Yang (2017) account from their paper “Temptation in vote-selling: Evidence from a field experiment in the Philippines” that:

“Typically, each voter in a household will be offered a packet with their name on it, and campaigns track who accepted and who did not. Candidates may also engage in a second round of vote buying if they learn that a challenger is offering more money than they are. Campaigns seek to ensure that voters clearly associate the gift with their candidate. For example, the candidate's flyer may be stapled to packages of food handed out to voters or cash may be attached to flyer or letter from the candidate. Most commonly, candidates distribute money attached to a sample ballot, and encourage voters to take the ballots with them to the polls as a guide. The sample ballot includes not just the candidate's name, but also allied candidates from other races up and down the ticket.”

Vote buying appears in different forms in every society. It may take the form of direct payments to voters. To Schaffer and Schedler (2015), vote buying in its literal sense, is a simple economic exchange. Candidates “buy” and citizens “sell” votes, as they buy and sell apples, shoes or television sets. He adds that the act of vote buying is a contract, or perhaps an auction, in which voters sell their votes to the highest bidder. Parties and candidates who offer material benefits to voters may generally aspire to purchase political support at the ballot box in accordance with the idea of market exchange.

Other forms may include offering of employment before elections, giving out of gifts, provision of social infrastructure to communities on the “last minute” and conditional promises to individuals upon the election of a candidate. Kramon (2014) is of the view that political parties employ certain strategies to buy the votes of electorates. The strategies may focus on demobilizing active opponents or on mobilizing passive supporters. The former is often described as “negative” vote buying or “abstention buying”, while the latter may be considered as “participation buying.” These strategies may be intended to refrain electorates from casting their votes or ensure a high turnout but how the parties choose amongst the strategies when offering electoral incentives or buying votes remain a great question.

Vote buying is a threat to the conduct of quality elections. According to Akwetey (2016), electoral fraud, corruption and unfair practices bring the reliability of the electoral process into question.It affects the legitimacy of the elected officials. He adds that the practice often leads to mistrust, violence and conflicts, while robbing citizens of their need for expected peace and development.

Vote buying has always been part of Nigeria's political process, albeit discretely. In the last few years, vote buying has worsened from being one of many campaign tactics into a fundamental determinant of electoral victory. As aptly captured by Matenga (2015), unlike in other African countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Malawi, where vote buying takes place prominently during campaign period, in Nigeria it takes place at multiple stages of the electoral cycle and has been observed eminently during voter registration, nomination period, campaign and election day. It also occurs at various institutional levels in the polity – for example, in the legislature, where votes are bought to illegally enact laws that would favour particular individuals or groups.

Indeed, Nigeria has been a victim of a series of anti-democratic activities and power-hungry politicians. The result is the scuppering of the ideals of democracy, political evolvement, and good governance. Many Nigerians, including local and international civil society groups raised concerns over financial inducement for votes which characterized the July 14, 2018 gubernatorial election in Ekiti, especially by the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

According to Nwankwo (2018), the 14 July 2018 gubernatorial election in Ekiti State, Nigeria is another episode of massive vote buying by the two major political parties: All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP). With the deployment of 30,000 police operatives, 19,997 NSCDC personnel, surveillance vehicles, sniffer dogs and many soldiers, one would expect that the election will be devoid of any form of malpractice. While the poll was generally peaceful, the police dispersed the opposition party, PDP’s supporters in a campaign venue, and arrested many of the party’s leader’s days before the election. The level of vote buying in this election has become subject of public discourse generating intense debate far more than before. The reason is obvious; while the incident of vote buying has steadily increased since 1999 which has initially been launched in Nigeria by the Obasanjo regime when he initiated do or die affairs and monetized election, the money paid per vote skyrocketed in the 2018 Ekiti governorship election (Nwankwo, 2018). This study proposes a new explanation for the dimension vote buying took in Ekiti state and how it has influenced the outcome of the election

1.2     Statement of the problem

There are growing fears that rising cases of vote buying and selling may not only undermine the electorate's right of choice, but ultimately imperil its democracy. In buying out one another, balances are unfairly altered; often so much that rivals might opt for other means to settle scores. While Nigerians are beginning to celebrate relative decline of godfatherism, gradual disappearance of ballot box snatching and high record of brigandage on election day in the nation's politics, the influence of huge amounts of money in deciding who wins an election is fast replacing anti-poll styles that once dominated Nigeria’s politics. The ‘see and buy’system in the Ondo governorship election that brought in Governor Rotimi Akeredolu was seen as a one-sided electoral fraud perpetrated by the All Progressives Congress, using the federal might to introduce intrigues into the pre-election activities of its main rival and further cementing its hold on the electoral process with enormous cash. In the Ekiti election, in year 2018, the political fraud was given the name ‘dibo ko sebe’ (vote and cook soup), with political party agents invading polling units with bags of money. They approached voters who had PVCs and convinced them to vote for their parties.

The APC and the PDP were alleged to have taken the lead in this practice, in some polling units, APC was bold enough to share the money in public while PDP shared their own a night before the election day. However, while the APC offered N5,000 for a vote, the state government was alleged to have offered N3,000 per vote ‘electronically’. In fact, there were evidences of the amount electronically paid to the accounts of civil servants and pensioners in the state for ‘logistics’. Logistics here simply translates to inducement. The People’s Democratic Party was also said to have offered willing voters N4,000 each to vote for the party.

          According to the news media, Vanguard (2018), despite the open sharing of money in the public by the party agent in the 2018 gubernatorial election, agents goes around from house to house in order to gain the heart of the electorates, not all the voters accept this offers. Many voted wholeheartedly because they already plan to do so. However, majority collect the money even from the two leading parties with the sole believe that there will be no such opportunity till the next four years of the administrations (Vanguard, 2018),.

Except for political parties and candidates who did not have much cash, no major contestant in the race could claim to be innocent of all anti-democratic strategies that were perpetrated before and during the election. And to nail their guilt, post-election responses of the contestants involved in vote buying have been meandering. It is against this background that the study is motivated to find out the impact of vote buying on the outcome of the 2018 gubernatorial election in Ekiti state in a view to find out factors that facilitated vote buying, method of vote buying before and during the elections and how it was able to influence the winner of the election.


1.3     Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to explore the nature, extent and implications of cash-for-vote in the outcome of the 2018 gubernatorial election of Ekiti state. The specific objectives are to:

       i.            interrogate the factors that facilitate vote buying in Ekiti State

     ii.            identify the chain of operation and methods of vote buying before and during the election

  iii.            examine the role of the voters' preferences and the payments to voters in determining the winner of the election.

  iv.            determine how vote buying influence the outcome of the 2018 gubernatorial election in Ekiti state

1.4     Research Questions

The following question was formulated in carrying out this research work:

       i.            What are the factors that facilitate vote buying before and during the election?

     ii.            What are the chains of operation and methods of vote buying before and during election?

  iii.            What are the role of the voters' preferences and the payments to voters in determining the winner of the election?

  iv.            Does vote buying influence the outcome of the 2018 gubernatorial election in Ekiti state?

1.5     Scope of the Study

This research will be limited to the effect of vote buying on the outcome of 2018 gubernatorial elections in Ekiti state. This study focuses on the factors that facilitate vote buying in Ekiti State, the chain of operation and methods of vote buying before and during election and how vote buying influence the outcome of the 2018 gubernatorial election. The study is delimited to three local governments selected from the three senatorial Districts in Ekiti state. These local governments were Ado Ekiti (Ekiti Central), Ilejemeje LGA (Ekiti North) and Ise-Ekiti (Ekiti South).

1.6     Significance of the Study

The study the  explore the effect of vote buying on the outcome of 2018 gubernatorial elections in Ekiti state in order to enlighten politicians, political leaders, public office holders, students, policy makers, school administrators and administrators on the impact of vote buying in electioneering. It is expected that the output of this research would help the political office holders, and stakeholders to understand fully the menace of vote buying and how it influence electioneering process

          Apart from this, the result of this study would help to know the reasons behind vote buying, its merit and demerits; it will also serve as an eye opener for students who have interest in party politics in nearest future. Similarly, establishing the impact of vote buying on outcome of election could help improve election process and ensure outcome of election represents the desire of the populace through the recommendations that are given by this study

1.7     Limitations of the Study

- Subjective Limits: The subjective limits are factors that facilitate vote buying in Ekiti State, the chain of operation and methods of vote buying before and during election and how vote buying influence the outcome of the 2018 gubernatorial election

- Human Limits: The study is limited to a sample of group of Politicians, Party Agent and potential voters who were 18 years and above across the three senatorial districts

- Time Limits: The study will be carried out during the 2018 gubernatorial election.

1.8     Organization of the Study

This research work will be organized in five chapters for easy understanding as follows: Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literatures presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

1.9     Definition of terms

       i.            Election: An election is a way people can choose their candidate or their preferences in a representative democracy or other form of government. This is how electorates choose the government of the state usually by majority vote.

     ii.            Electorate: Electorate refers to the people who are eligible to vote in an election, especially their number e.g. the term size of (the) electorate.

  iii.            Vote Buying: Vote buying occurs when a political party or candidate seeks to buy the vote of a voter in an upcoming election. This practice is often used to incentivize or persuade voters to turn out to elections and vote in a particular way.

  iv.            Gubernatorial Election: this has to go with governorship election. A governor is the elected leader of a state in Nigeria

     v.            Voting Behavior: is the way that different people tend to vote. Voting behavior is a form of electoral behavior. Totality of attitude, belief, and behavior that electorate manifest during election





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