© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Osun Decides 2018: Vote buying persists in Osun, despite INEC’s warning
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC though has warned political parties against vote buying in the Osun election, but politicians have become wiser in the way they offer a bribe to voters.
The ICIR reporters visited the secretariat of the People’s Democratic Party in Biket area, Osogbo on Friday and witnessed how voters were being paid electronically in exchange for the promise to vote PDP on Saturday.
Around 1:30 pm on the eve of the election, people were trooping to the Secretariat to register their names under a programme known as Adeleke Youth Empowerment Scheme – A YES, and some of them have long passed the age of a youth.
At the secretariat, prospective voters are offered a form to fill after showing his/her Permanent Voter Card, PVC to a group of young boys called the coordinator. Other details required from voters are names and account numbers.
A young woman who spoke to The ICIR confirmed that the party pays N5000 to anyone who is willing to show PVC, as well as register for A – YES. She came to the Secretariat when she heard that she could make N5000 just to register for A– Yes and vote PDP on Saturday. The ICIR asked whether she would eventually vote PDP after collecting her money. “Of course I will, it will be ungodly to collect money and not vote, though I don’t think they will have a way of knowing If I don’t vote, but I will vote.”
While she was filling her form, a middle age woman brought a phone to her to help confirm whether she has received an alert of N5000. She has not.
A youth corps member serving in Osun State, Alabi Kuburat Ajoke, who also came to fill the A-YES form confirmed that many people have already gotten an alert. She advised The ICIR reporter to promptly collect the form before it finished.
A night before, The ICIR received a Whatsapp message from an Airtel number +2348120569530 asking eligible voters to send bank details, age, ward and unit.
Several people who had come to the secretariat said they also received a WhatsApp message asking them to register for A YES. And those who responded earlier were already receiving alert of N5000 at the time of The ICIR visit to the secretariat.
The ICIR visited the Secretariat of Social Democratic Party at Ogo-Oluwa area in Osogbo on Thursday. Party coordinators were also seeing compiling names and account numbers of party members.
The reporter asked whether he could register his name, the coordinator requested that he should go and bring his PVC before he could be registered. One of the boys said the party was offering N10,000 to eligible voters. But there was no way of confirming the claim because most party members have been cautioned to be discreet, having learnt a lesson from Ekiti election.
Meanwhile, reports by other media also confirmed that the ruling, APC is also distributing bribe electronically.
A voter said an anonymous caller with number 08169144642 asked whether she would vote for APC. And when she responded that she would if APC greases her palm, the caller asked her to send account number and a screenshot of her PVC. She is yet to receive an alert as at the time of this publication.
The ICIR called the number, and a male voice answered. He simply introduced himself as APC agent, and said money had already been released to different wards, he told The ICIR to go ask his ward leaders and if he did not get anything he should call back after the election. Then he cut off the phone. Several calls put to him later was declined.