Supplementary Elections: APC, PDP woo voters with money, gifts, lobby other parties

The All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party in states where the supplementary elections will hold on Saturday, March 23, are wooing voters with money, gift items and lobbying other political parties for support.

The states where the run-offs will take place are Kano, Plateau, Benue, Adamawa and Sokoto.

Both the APC and the PDP which are the leading parties in the country are not leaving any stone unturned in their bid to emerge victorious in the forthcoming rerun.

They are also pressurising religious leaders to help them convince members of their congregation to vote for them.

Investigations by our correspondents showed that gift materials and money were given prospective voters and some of the party officials.

For instance, the APC and the PDP in Sokoto State are wooing voters with gift items ahead of Saturday’s supplementary governorship poll in the state. Though both parties have denied this, some voters who have been approached with cash and gift items insisted that the party chieftains were being economical with the truth.

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that other items being used to induce voters ahead of the election included clothes, handsets, soaps and assorted food items.

He said, “Both parties are involved in vote-buying. They have invaded our neighbourhood and going from house to house, tempting us with cash.

“The situation is worse in the rural areas, where agents of the two leading parties try to outsmart one another by obtaining eligible voters’ Permanent Voter Cards with a down payment and a promise to give them additional money when the card is returned.

“They are planning to return the cards on the eve of the election and once you vote for them, you will be given your balance,” he stated.

When confronted with the allegations of vote-buying, the state Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Kabiru Aliyu, exonerated his party from the allegation of vote- buying, saying his party would never engage in such act.

He, however, accused the opposition of plans to buy votes.

Aliyu added, “Members of the opposition party in the state are the ones engaging in vote- buying because they have nothing to use to campaign in the state.

“As we are preparing for the elections, we will keep our eyes on the ballot boxes to make sure the election is not rigged,.”

But an APC chieftain, Abdulkadir Waziri, accused the PDP of using state resources to buy votes for Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, an action which he described as ‘satanic.’

He also alleged that the security agents in the state and INEC officials were working for the PDP to deny the electorate the freedom of choosing their leaders.

Waziri stated, “Under the watch of the security agents drawn to the polling centres, ballot boxes were snatched and destroyed leading to the cancellation of elections in those centres. In fact, the PDP ensured that where the APC followers are dominant elections were disrupted.

“Multiple voting and ballot snatching were the order of the day. INEC members of staff under duress, or fear of their lives in some cases compromised and allowed the PDP to have their day, security agents also supported manipulation of the elections.

“The use of money by the PDP was so glaring that voters were openly approached and lured to accept cash and were openly escorted by the PDP agents to cast their votes in favour of the PDP and nobody cared to challenge them as they were under security agents protection.”

According to a document obtained by one of our correspondents, the run-off is expected to hold in 136 polling units scattered across the state. Kebbe, Gada and Sokoto North have the highest number of polling units of 35, 29 and 10, respectively.

However, re-run election will hold in one polling unit each at Gudu, Isa, Kware, Tureta, Wamakko and Yabo LGAs.

Prior to the declaration of the governorship election inconclusive by the returning officer, Prof. Fatima Batulu Mukhtar, Tambuwal of the PDP, was clearly in the lead with 489,558 votes ahead of Ahmed Aliyu of the APC, who polled 486,145 votes.

The election, however, ended in a stalemate as the 3,413 votes margin is far less than the cancelled votes for various reasons, totalling 75,403 votes.

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