There are indications that today’s House of Assembly election in the State of Osun may be marred with vote buying and violence.
Findings by OSUN DEFENDER revealed that both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) are ready to induce voters for them to win majority of the assembly seats for their candidates.
The monetisation of the election has further been made possible by the recent directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) validating the old N500 and N1,000 notes as legal tender till December this year, in line with the Supreme Court judgment.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the cash needed for the vote buying had been warehoused at the country home of leaders of the PDP and APC at Ede and Iragbiji respectively, immediately after the presidential and national assembly election.
According to sources, the two parties started distribution of the ‘the vote buying monies’ to local government and unit coordinators on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
The medium also learnt that both the PDP and APC have also paid some of the electorate for the presidential and national assembly elections.
It was gathered that the two parties were transferring a sum of N1,500 to the bank accounts of each of the voters’ whose account details were collected on the election day.
The medium recalled that the two parties had their agents who were writing down bank account details of some of the electorate that voted for their respective candidates.
It would also be recalled that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) arrested four suspects for alleged vote buying in Osun during the general election on February 25.
According to ICPC, the suspects were found with documents containing lists of names, phone numbers, and account details of voters during the election in the state.
The agency, in a statement by its Spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, said: “The four vote buyers arrested in Osun State are Adewale Teslim, 32 years; Yemi Adebiyi, 42 years; Shake Idris, 36 years, and Emiola Joseph Oluwole, 69 years.
“Operatives of the commission retrieved a list of names and phone numbers of voters from Adewale Teslim at Polling Unit 07, Ward 07, Ile Aganna in the Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State.
“The officers also recovered a list of people who had voted with their phone numbers and account details from Yemi Adebiyi at Polling Unit 06, Ward 04 at Ikirun junction, Ikirun, while Shake Idris was arrested at Polling Unit 6, Ward 10, Ofatedo area of Osun State with a notebook containing over 100 names and account numbers.”
A resident of Osogbo who received the ‘vote-buying’ payment alert confided in OSUN DEFENDER that his account details was collected by agent of the PDP at a polling unit at L.A Primary School, Adenle, Osogbo, on the election day and was paid a sum of N1,500 on Sunday, March 5.
The voter who did not want his name in print said: “I thought the party would not pay us again until I received the alert of N1500 last week Sunday. I believed the party must have thought of the implication of not paying us because of tomorrow’s House of Assembly election.”
Mrs. Bolanle Akinrinde, who claimed to have voted at the last general election in Ilesa told the medium that she has been paid by APC whose agent collected her account details.
She said: “I voted at a polling unit close to the Central Mosque in Ilesa during the presidential and national assembly election. I voted for the APC because the party’s agent had collected my account number and promised to pay me and other voters that day.
“My account was credited on Tuesday, March 7 with N1,500 and the agent called me to confirm the payment.
“I don’t think I will go and vote tomorrow because I cannot spend N2,000 as transport fare to Ilesa from Osogbo and be paid N1,500 at the end of the day. Let them hold their money; I am not going to Ilesa to vote on Saturday.”
However, findings revealed that both the PDP and APC have changed tactics and concluded on inducing the voters with cash.
But the amount to be paid to each of the voters could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report.
We’ll Descend On Vote Buyers, Sellers – ICPC
When contacted, the State of Osun Resident Commissioner of the ICPC, Mr. Demola Bakare, vowed that the commission will descend on everybody involved in vote buying and selling, warning politicians, their agents and electorate against any malpractice.
He said: “We have strategies in place to address the vote buying matter. Part of our strategies is to do pre-election intelligence gathering, monitor the election and act on the information gathered. We will continue our work, including arresting suspects after the election day. We have perfected our strategies before, during and after the election.
“We are aware that some parties are already paying the electorate and some of their agents and the voters are on our radars. We are not resting on our oars.
“We are also collaborating with security agencies to ensure that the election is violent free. I can assure you that the election will take place in a peaceful environment.”
When asked about the four suspects arrested in Osun by the commission during the last general election, Bakare said: “Those we arrested for vote buying in the last elections have been released on bail and investigations are still ongoing on their case. The items recovered from them are helping our investigations.”
Possible Violence In Boripe, Irewole, Isokan, Atakunmosa East, Others
Besides, the election might also be characterised with violence in some local governments, based on the personality of the candidates of the two parties, their supporters and political environment.
Investigations revealed that both the PDP and APC are determined and desperate to win majority seats for the coming 9th assembly.
Candidates of the parties, it was gathered, have mapped out strategies to weaken their opponent’s strength at their strongholds.
The two parties had been exchanging words on allegations of plots to unleash violence on individual’s members.
According to investigations, issues of harassment of voters, disruption of voting process and ballot box snatching might happen in Atakunmosa East, Atakunmosa West, Irewole, Ife East, Ilesa West, Ilesa East and Boripe local governments.
Political violence had been prevalent in Atakunmosa East, Atakunmosa West, Ilesa East and Ilesa west local governments before the conduct of the presidential and national assembly elections.
Political thugs working for both PDP and APC have not ceased from unleashing mayhem on the people, especially in Atakunmosa East and Atakunmosa west local governments.
OSUN DEFENDER gathered that there are grand plots to disrupt elections in Iragbiji and Iree of Boripe local government, Ikire and Apomu of Irewole and Isokan local governments respectively.
Why PDP, APC Are Desperate To Have Majority Seats In 8th Assembly
The House of Assembly election is peculiar in Osun. Aside of being another test of popularity for the PDP, the party is also aiming to have firm control of the assembly to secure a smooth sail for Governor Ademola Adeleke’s administration.
“We are not taking any chances; we want to clear (win) all the assembly seats as we did during the national assembly election, so that both the Appeal and Supreme Courts will know that Adeleke actually won the July 16, 2022 governorship election”, said Alhaji Tunde Sanusi, a PDP chieftain in Egbedore local government.
While the PDP is aiming to control the assembly, the APC is also targeting to have majority of the lawmakers at the parliament.
OSUN DEFENDER noted that former governor Adegboyega Oyetola had been meeting stakeholders of the APC to rally round all the candidates of the party.
Unlike the presidential and national assembly elections, Oyetola has made efforts aimed at facilitating electoral victory for the APC in today’s election.
It was noted that Oyetola is looking forward to returning to office on account of the petition he filed against Adeleke on the last governorship election result, hence the need for his party to have majority seats at the assembly.
It would be recalled that the election petition tribunal had declared Oyetola as the winner of the July 16, 2022 governorship election, a judgement that was appealed by Adeleke.
The Appeal Court had on Monday adjourned the case for judgment after counsels to the parties have submitted their final addresses.
As of the time of filing this report, it was feasible for the APC to win Osogbo, Boripe/Boluwaduro, Ife Central, Irewole/Isokan, Ilesa East and Ife North constituencies.