#EkitiDecides2022: Vote buying rampant at polling units
Rampant cases of vote-buying have been observed in several polling units (PU) in the ongoing governorship election across Ekiti State.
Party agents are inducing voters with cash ranging from N1,000 to as high as N10,000 to vote for their candidates.
PREMIUM TIMES observed cases of voters arriving at polling units and meeting with party agents for the bribe before joining the queue to cast their ballots.
These agents represent parties of top contenders like the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The candidates of these parties, Biodun Oyebanji, Bisi Kolawole and Segun Oni respectively, are considered the frontrunners of the poll.
At PU 009, Oisa Alada Hall in Ikere Local Government Area, many voters, mainly women and the elderly, were seen trooping in and out with their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) to receive payment for their votes.
They would meet a slender woman who checked their PVCs before permitting them to go in.
When asked, some of the beneficiaries told this newspaper that they were given N7,000 each “by APC people.”
At PU 003 in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area, voters were writing down their names for the sum of N10,000 each with an agent whose party could not be identified as of the time of this report.
At another polling unit close by, voters were given N3,000 to cast their votes.
A similar scene was observed at PU 09, Ijero LGA, where voters were given N4,000 each to vote.
After he cast his vote, the SDP governorship candidate, Segun Oni, said he was aware of vote buying in some polling units in Ado Ekiti and Oye. He promised to “ask his people to take photographs of the acts.”
Mr Oni also said despite the electoral malpractices, he would win the election.
“Whatever they do, we will still beat them. Nigerians know who will win the election. It is not an. election that is hanging. We know who will will win,” the SDP candidate said.
Kemi Elebute-Halle, the governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), also said she was aware of vote buying by other parties.
Ms Elebute-Halle who voted at PU 08, Ikole LGA, said the APC, PDP and SDP are buying votes for N10,000; N5,000, and N3,000 respectively.
She, however, expressed hope that voters would make the right choice at the end of the day.
However, when asked if he was aware the vote buying going on, the APC candidate, Biodun Oyebanji, said he was not.
Some officials nabbed
Meanwhile, officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested some agents for alleged vote buying.
In a video clip by Channels Television, officers of the EFCC were seen parading some people they referred to as “officials” at the Oke Ori Omi Area Division of the Nigerian Police Force.
The suspects were caught with nylon bags containing money and a list of names of people who have allegedly voted.
The EFCC is part of security agencies deployed to monitor the election.
Earlier, INEC warned there would be strict enforcement of the law on the election.
There are 16 candidates seeking to take over from Governor Kayode Fayemi in October.
The candidates are Reuben Famuyibo of the Accord Party; Ajagunigbale Olajide of AAC; Oluwole Oluyede, ADC; Kemi Elebute-Halle, ADP; Abiodun Oyebanji, APC; Benjamin Abidoyin, APGA; Fagbemo Adegbenro, APM; Christiana Olatawura, APP; and Daramola Olugbenga, LP.
Others are Fatomilola Oladosu, NNPP; Iyaniwura Ifedayo, NRM; Olabisi Kolawole, PDP; Ben Agboola, PRP; former Governor Olusegun Oni, SDP; Adebowale Ajayi, YPP and Adeola Akinyemi, ZLP.
However, Messrs Oyebanji, Oni and Kolawole of the APC, SDP and PDP respectively, are considered the frontrunners with one of them most likely to win the election.
Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie – +2348098788999