Last Saturday’s election in Ekiti state has been concluded, but the controversies trailing same, especially monetary inducements of voters, are yet to die down, as some of the voters themselves, in shocking revelation, narrates how they were induced by almost all the parties in the election. Journalists who moved round were told how some candidates went into competition, struggling to outdo one another in order to get the attention and admiration of voters, using gifts and cash. Many of the voters, spread across entire length of the state, and cutting across all ages, admitted having received monetary benefits, alongside valuables including TV sets, handsets, and a host other gift items, which they claimed actually swayed them.
Sola, a fashion designer in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, explained he received cash gifts ranging from N4,000 to N7,000 from two prominent members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), another N5,000 from an All Progressives Congress chieftain, while still another amount came from the Labour Party, noting he received all as gifts right inside his shop.
His words: “I took all the money right here in my shop. I hardly go out, as I have a long list of customers to satisfy. But they would come into the shop, ask for my voter card, and upon my showing them, they dip their hands into their pockets. I don’t go to them.” Abodunde, a female teacher in the state disclosed she got almost N30, 000 in various sums, including the ones she got on the day of election at the polling centres, seeing the inducements as “luck”. “I was very lucky that day. Someone gestured to me to come while I was on the line.
I moved in the direction right there where we were voting. When I got there, I was given N4, 000. Deola, a trader, however explained she was instructed before voting that she should show the ballot paper to someone immediately after applying the ink, after which she was given N10, 000, noting “Whoever was not ready to receive the cash would not be bold enough to show the paper.
Her words: “While I was on the queue, someone came to me, pointing in certain direction, the direction of the person waiting to see my card. Beside that one is another person, as I got to know soon after voting, who was carrying a small bag containing only a thousand naira denomination. “Although I had said I would not take the money, when I got to know the amount, I showed my ballot after casting, I took the money and left quietly. If I did not take that money that day, I am not sure my family, including my husband, would eat anything.
My husband voted, but he said he was not approached for such. Kenneth, an engineer, who equally admitted receiving the cash gifts, explained “it would be wrong not to take that money”, as the person giving same would be the one to pocket any left over. He also contended that politics lacked transparency, which he said was why just one person would get so much money as to be distributing it to people, just to have their votes. According to him, no one who had worked for his/her money would give it out the way he observed politicians did during the election, noting, “I saw money, my brother. I saw cash. Until I saw it, I never believed anybody could be giving cash anyhow.
There is money in this country.” Said he: “I know it is not good to be induced to vote for anyone, but I took the cash given to me on that day. I voted in Ado-Ekiti here, and when someone approached me, I looked up. A tall guy like that. He asked if I would like to take cash after voting for his candidate.
I said yes. “He then gave me tally number 65 and instructed me about how I should do the voting. I did his bidding and got the cash. It was N5,000. The money was my own. That was why it came to me. It was everyone’s money. I am not sure anybody rejected the gift that day. I did not know of any.” Baba 70, however noted he stayed in his house and they brought all that he got as inducements, explaining it was a good development, as politicians were already aware no one would write the figures for anyone again. His words: “They bought my vote, which I think is good, not just because someone considered me valuable, but because it goes to show that the ballot paper has started winning the election.
If anyone thinks someone somewhere can write the figure for him, he deceives himself. “Whatever you can do as a candidate to win the heart of the voters, you know you have to do it. This is electoral credibility. INEC does not write figures to favour anybody again. All candidates go to the field, the votes you get is reflective of your popularity. This election, people voted and the stronger party carried the day. This is my opinion,” Papa said.