Transforming Democracy: Oshodi’s Bold Move With Vote-buying Therapy (ovb-sart)

By Prof John Egbeazien Oshodi
Psychologist John Egbeazien Oshodi
Psychologist John Egbeazien Oshodi

In the bustling heart of Nigeria's rich cultural network unfolds, with various developments and challenges a groundbreaking initiative takes root to confront the pervasive issue of vote-buying. The "Oshodi Vote-Buying Self-Assessment, Recovery, and Therapy" (OVB-SART), also known colloquially as "Vote-Buying Therapy" (VBT), emerges as a transformative force to empower individuals, redefine civic responsibility, and foster resilience against the corrosive influence of vote-buying within the electoral process.

Vote-buying, a persistent challenge in various African elections, particularly prominent in Nigerian electoral processes, revolves around the exchange of immediate financial gain for electoral support. Beyond its condemnation for undermining the democratic process, this phenomenon operates on a complex psychological level, revealing striking parallels with the dynamics of substance abuse. Understanding these connections is crucial for comprehending the multifaceted nature of vote-buying.

In advanced societies like America, concerns about the influence of money in politics and elections are widespread, manifesting through significant donations, lobbying, and various other channels. However, the act and practice of vote-buying, an unusual and dark phenomenon, stand out as a unique challenge predominantly observed in African settings, particularly Nigeria. This distinction highlights the specific and complex nature of electoral dynamics in different regions.

Vote-buying strategically targets economic vulnerability, focusing on individuals grappling with financial hardships. The promise of immediate financial gain serves as a potent incentive, often overshadowing considerations of the long-term policy impact promised by the elected candidate. Additional psychological factors, including fear, social pressure, and information asymmetry, contribute to voters' susceptibility to external influences.

In response to the intricate psychological dimensions of vote-buying, the concept of "Vote-Buying Therapy" (VBT) emerges as an innovative approach. Acknowledging shared characteristics with substance abuse – such as pleasure-seeking, immediate gratification, and dependency – this therapeutic intervention seeks to break the cycle of dependency on quick monetary gains exchanged for votes.

Vote-Buying Therapy places special emphasis on the vulnerable segments of society, particularly those facing economic disadvantage. Educational programs are meticulously designed to underscore the long-term consequences of succumbing to the allure of immediate financial rewards, effectively addressing the root causes of vulnerability.

Extending beyond the electorate, Vote-Buying Therapy encompasses politicians engaged in these practices. By fostering a reflective environment, politicians can confront the psychological aspects of their actions, gaining insights into the damage caused by perpetuating this harmful practice.

For the OVB-SART program to achieve its full potential, robust support from the government and existing systems is imperative. Comprehensive training programs for law enforcement, judges, and election workers are crucial components. OVB-SART boldly advocates for a shift in focus towards prosecuting the architects of vote-buying schemes – the big men/madams and politicians orchestrating these practices.

In-school Vote-Buying Therapy: OVB-SART extends its transformative reach into schools, from primary to higher institutions. Educational curricula are enriched with preventive, counseling, and advocacy sessions, embedding the principles of civic responsibility and resilience against vote-buying in the minds of future voters.

In-community Vote-Buying Therapy: Recognizing Oshodi as a microcosm of Nigeria's diversity, OVB-SART tailors its approach to address the unique economic challenges, social dynamics, and political intricacies of the community. In-community sessions facilitate nuanced discussions and interventions that resonate with the pulse of Oshodi.

Prison Rehabilitation Programs: Even within the confines of prisons, individuals convicted for involvement in vote-buying find redemption through specialized OVB-SART programs. These rehabilitation initiatives aim to reshape mindsets, providing inmates with the tools to resist the allure of immediate financial gains in exchange for votes.

Political Integration: OVB-SART advocates for the integration of its principles into political structures, encouraging political parties and leaders to undergo "Vote-Buying Therapy." This would involve reflective sessions where politicians confront the psychological impact of their actions, fostering a commitment to fair and transparent electoral practices.

The successful execution of OVB-SART requires a dedicated team of professionals with backgrounds in counseling, psychology, and education. These individuals will lead self-assessment workshops, conduct recovery support groups, and facilitate therapeutic modules. Law enforcement personnel, judges, and election workers will undergo specialized training programs, equipping them with a deep understanding of the psychological facets of vote-buying.

In conclusion, "Oshodi Vote-Buying Self-Assessment, Recovery, and Therapy" stands as a beacon of hope for a resilient democracy. By weaving a therapeutic approach into the fabric of electoral processes, OVB-SART envisions a future where the vibrant spirit of Oshodi harmonizes seamlessly with the principles of free and fair elections. This initiative represents a novel hypothesis that demands testing and exploration, marking a pioneering effort in the psychological and academic realms to reshape Nigeria's electoral landscape. As it extends its influence to schools, communities, prisons, and political arenas, OVB-SART emerges as a comprehensive tool for societal transformation, offering a unique and holistic approach to combating the menace of vote-buying. With its striking resemblance to issues like substance abuse, Vote-Buying Therapy captures public and media interest, positioning itself as an innovative solution to an age-old electoral challenge.

The integration of individuals with educational backgrounds in psychology, counseling, and education adds a layer of credibility and efficacy to the program. As a newly conceptualized phenomenon and a novel hypothesis, the "Oshodi Vote-Buying Self-Assessment, Recovery, and Therapy" (OVB-SART) demands rigorous and continuous testing. This pioneering initiative requires not only attention but also collaborative efforts from stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens. Together, we can usher in a new era characterized by integrity, resilience, and informed democratic choices, not just in Nigeria but in societies worldwide.

Professor John Egbeazien Oshodi, who was born in Uromi, Edo State, Nigeria, to a father who served in the Nigeria police for 37 years, is an American-based police and prison scientist and forensic, clinical, and legal psychologist. A sex offender assessment and treatment psychologist. A government consultant on matters of forensic-clinical psychological services in the USA; and a former interim associate dean and assistant professor at Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African Settings. In 2011, he introduced state-of-the-art forensic psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C. and Nasarawa State University, where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. He has taught at various universities and colleges including Florida memorial University, Florida International University, Broward college, Lynn University, and a contributing faculty member at the Weldios university in Benin Republic, Nexus International University, Uganda, Nova Southeastern University and Walden University in USA. He is a Human Rights Psychologist with a focus on African related environments. [email protected]

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