• APC scared of defeat, buying voters’ cards –PDP pub. sec., Nehikhare
• Allegation last kick of a dying horse –ex-APC Reps member, Osagie
Barely two months to the conduct of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State, leaders and supporters of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), have raised the alarm over alleged plans by agents of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, to woo voters with monetary inducements to part with their respective voters’ cards.
The APC leaders alleged that aside from party members, the APC also discovered that the PDP was also wooing other political party’s supporters to part with their voters cards by allegedly offering them in general N20,000, N50,000 per a voters’ card.
Confirming the PVC sale allegation, an APC member in Sabongidaora, Owen Local Government Area of Edo State, Mr. Sule Ahmed, who spoke to our reporter, alleged that the electorate were under intense pressure from the PDP agents in the area to sell their voters cards to the agents of the ruling PDP.
Sule said: “This people have been disturbing for the past four weeks to give them my voters’ card at the rate of N20, 000. I don’t want to tell you their names, but they have collected voters’ cards from many people in my area.
“Some of them gave N20,000, others N50,000. But because I love my party, I refused to sell my own to them. I went to school, I nobody can come and bamboozle me, I do not want to mortgage my and that of my children, because most of them doing this thing do not have their children here in Edo State. I’m an APC man and I will not change because of peanuts.”
Collaborating Sule’s claim, a resident, Mr. Victor Agamwonyi, said he was not ready to trade-off his voter’s card for whatever reason.
He said: “I ‘m a Keke rider a registered voter but I don’t want to tell you the party that I’m supporting, I have being voting since the First Republic. So, there is no politician that can come to my house to demand for my voters card, I will chase him away from my compound. I understand that PDP and APC people are going around the state lobbying voters with money to sell their voters cards; to me it is very wrong and undemocratic.
“I can never sell my birth right for pea nuts. And again most of those looking for people to use to gain power do not have the interest of the poor people in mind; I have a daughter, who is a graduate but today she is at home, no job. Yet, they want us to go and queue up in the sun and rain for them, then after that, you won’t see them again.
“If they like, let them offer me N200,000, I will not sell my voters card to anybody. I know that it is going to be a difficult election in Edo but for me, I have my support for PDP because it has been my party for a long time. We are praying for God to bring out the best for us thank.”
For Mr. Eco Wisdom, a fashion dealer at the Airport Road, Benin-City, he said: “I can never sell my PVC even if they give me N1 million, as I talk with you now; my PVC is in my pocket, I protect it like an egg.
“No politician will have the courage to approach me to sell my voters card not even my father can tell that. Those area boys selling their cards for N20,000 or N50,000 are hungry people and jobless people. They are the people politicians are using for their selfish ends. I have told my friends to resist any attempt by politicians to make them sell their birth right.”
However, a PDP chieftain, Mr. Okharedia Ikhimekpen, said: “The statement that PDP is buying off PVCs from voters is wrong and is not correct. It is erroneous in principle and fallacious in theory and very difficult to prove. In moments like this it is expected for politicians to started pointed accusing fingers on each other. The PDP I know cannot do that; I don’t know whether the APC are involved in it.
“If you acquire voters cards from people, how will the person use it? If it is not used, the aim is defeated. The persons aim is to disenfranchised the voter and deny the candidate of the votes.”
Commenting, Dr. Sunny Olu, a trado- medical practitioner and a grassroots leader in Oredo Local Government Area, said: “Yes, I have heard stories about people saying politicians are buying PVCs from voters. It is very wrong for people to sell their voters cards whether APC or PDP. I do not subscribe to that idea at all. Why should a normal human being sell his or her voters card what does the person stands to gain.
“Look this politicians are deceiving the ordinary man on the street, even if you give me N1 million to sell my voter’s card, I would not sell. I know where I belong, I have my voters card I won’t give anybody my card no matter the amount.”
However, Mr. Ephraim Otaigbe, who represents Igueben Constituency, said: “Whatever APC is doing, the election is done and won. Governor Obaseki is retaining his position as governor of Edo State. There no way APC can win election in Edo State, because we are all in this business together, we know what they know.
“We can let Adams Oshiomhole have his ward, but it cannot be 100 per cent as it used to be. The man who boasted that he has not lost any war, is now struggling for survival. We will retire him finally from politics in Nigeria. Edo people have said no to him, Edo is not Lagos, we are a different people. As it is now, nobody can stop Obaseki from being re-elected as governor.”
Reacting, an APC Woman leader in Egor (names withheld), said: “If they like, let them force everybody with guns to decamp, I’m for Ize-Iyamu. I cannot be cajoled into working for another party when I belong to APC.
“I worked for this governor four years ago because of our great leader Oshiomhole, but he paid us back with nothing. If PDP like let them buy off the PVCs in Edo State, for me and my family, we are for APC.
“ Yes it is not new in politics, it has happen before, it is also a means of campaign because when you are going to War, you use every means to make sure you defeat your enemies, but those who are selling their PVCs don’t know the implication of their actions.
“There is no amount of money they would offer me that will make me change my mind or sell my voter’s card God forbid bad thing. They have sent people to me severally but I have always stood my ground, those selling their cards are new comers in the game of politics not old politicians like us.
“I’m also very convinced that God will not turn his back on us come September 19. So, let those hungry people go ahead and sell their future and that of their general, good luck to them.”
On his part, Mr. Olalekan Kadiri, a Civil Engineering graduate from the University of Benin (UNIBEN), said: “What an insult for an area boy to come to me and say he want to buy my voter’s card. If they like let them pay me N2 million, they don’t worth having my PVC.”
APC is only scared of defeat, says Nehikhare, PDP publicity scribe
Reacting to the allegations of vote buying, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in Edo State, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, debunked the allegations that the ruling party was buying voters cards for N20,000, N50,000.
Speaking to Saturday Telegraph in his office in Benin-City, he said PDP as a political party was too organised to get themselves involves in such a criminal act.
He said: “First of all, I haven’t heard that rumour of buying PVC. It is very wrong for anybody to think that Obaseki would pay N20,000 for a voter’s card. Now tell me, what is the point of doing that when we are relying on people to come out and vote for us?
“Why would we deprive them of their voters’ card? People we are relying on to vote for us are the ones that told Governor Obaseki to come to PDP so that we liberate them and free them from the evil of the past.
“If anybody is buying PVC, it must be APC, definitely not PDP because they are trying to make sure that people did not vote on that day because they are afraid of the distance and volume of the defeat they are going to receive on that day.”
Last kick of a dying horse-Osagie, ex-APC Rep member
Meanwhile, a former House of Representatives member and chieftain of the APC in Edo State, Mr. Samson Osagie, had described the allegation that the APC was buying off voter’s cards for N20,000, N50,000 as the ‘last kick of a dying horse’ on PDP.
Speaking in a telephone interview with our reporter, Osagie said Obaseki and his cohorts were looking for excuses to blackmail APC, given the fact that Ize-Iyamu was capable of winning the election in the state.
He said: “Look that claim by PDP is baseless and unfounded. It is simply the last kick of a dying horse. APC have no business involving themselves in election malpractices, we are very committed, very busy with election campaign programme.
“If there is an body doing that, it must be Obaseki and his PDP cohort who are already crying over an election that has done and won by the APC in Edo State.
“Right thinking Edo people know that Godwin Obaseki has failed the good people of the state in all ramifications, the masses have rejected him and his PDP party long time ago in Edo State, good governance is not about mouth-making or bulling the people and forcing them to follow you. Once a governor is doing fine, you do not need to force the people to follow you, it is your good works that speak for you.
“Again we have a candidate who knows what good governance is all about, a candidate who is globally accepted by his people who has a pedigree of winning an election under free and fair contest. Ize- Iyamu is a political tactician known across the state with political structure all over the 192 wards.
“The PDP are already afraid of him hence they are crying and raising issues that should not be raised. But because Obaseki has failed woefully in Edo as governor, what he should be doing now is preparing hand over note. He should be reminder that he has just two months in that office. The election is already won by APC.”