The Diocesan Bishop of Ijesa North Anglican Diocese, Right Rev. Isaac Oluyamo, has decried the spate of vote-buying in Nigeria.
This was just as the clergyman warned the electorate to beware of politicians who were always out to buy their conscience, thus preventing them from electing credible leaders to run the affairs of the country.
The Bishop made these remarks in his Presidential Address (Bishop’s Charge) as part of activities marking the First Session of the Fourth Synod of the Diocese, which held on Saturday at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Erinmo-Ijesa in Osun State.
According to the prelate, it is disheartening to see that vote-buying is now seen as a norm in Nigeria’s political process.
He stressed that the trend would not allow sincere and credible people to find their way into positions of authority simply because they don’t have the money to buy votes.
With specific reference to the 2022 governorship election in Osun State, Bishop Oluyamo said he foresees a vote going for as high as N50,000 if the ugly trend of vote buying is not nipped in the bud.
He said: “As Osun State will be going to the polls next year, we advise our politicians to play a fair game and not handle it as a ‘do-or-die’ affair.
“They should sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign because elections cannot be held in an atmosphere of rancour.
“They should also desist from vote buying.
“We are aware of a particular state in Nigeria where there were high and troubling reports of vote buying, where prospective voters were selling their votes for between N20,000 and N25,000 each.
“This is highly condemnable!
“If care is not taken, a vote might begin to sell for as high as N50,000.00 in Nigeria, beginning with the 2022 governorship election in Osun State.”
Bishop Oluyamo then called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission is given the required support to function impartially and be truly independent, as its name implies.
He called on the government at the centre to tighten up security around INEC offices nationwide to halt the current ugly situation whereby offices of the electoral body are being vandalised and burnt down by hoodlums.
Rt. Rev. Oluyamo also used the occasion to advice governments across board to stop imposing taxes on religious institutions in Nigeria, saying such action would bring nothing but curse on the land.
According to him, religious institutions over the years have been engaging in activities that provide support to the vulnerable people in the society.
To this extent, the Church should not be seen as a money-making venture because it has never been so, he added.
He said: “We appeal to Nigerians to pay their taxes and other levies, while government should, on the other hand, channel those taxes to the welfare of the citizens.
“No government should think of imposing tax on religious institutions.
“Any government with such a motive will only be inviting the wrath of God on the land.
“Religious institutions are already doing a lot of things government should ordinarily be doing for the people and they are not money-making organisations.”