Posted By: Joseph Jibueze and Isaac Jimoh Ayodele
gate of the old governor office where cash is been collected
The parks of Fero Mobile F110 Phone that was distributed at the old Governor’s office, Oke Bareke, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State
Several voters were given money Friday by politicians to vote for particular candidates in Saturday’s election.
Those who spoke to our correspondents on condition of anonymity said they got N4,000 each.
Our correspondents, who were at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) office where newsmen were being accredited, noticed that people were steadily streaming in and out of the Old Governor’s office in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital.
Those seen going in and out of the premises were mostly youths as well as middle-aged men and women.
While some ran into the premises apparently to get there before the sharing ended, others walked briskly towards an inner building.
A woman was overheard raining curses on some people she claimed collected money twice.
She wondered why some would collect twice while others were yet to collect once.
She said: “A vehicle will kill all of those that collected twice!”
One of our correspondents approached her and said: “Take it easy madam. You’re a mother. You shouldn’t curse others that way.”
She said: “The cheating is too much. Some people have not collected, while some have collected twice. It’s not fair.”
When our correspondent sought to know who was sharing the money, she said: “I’m not a radio. Leave me, I am annoyed.” Then she walked away.
Several people were seen trying to gain access to the gated inner building within the premises.
Those coming out of the building told those outside that they must be sure of the wards they were registered to vote.
Someone was overheard saying that having a Permanent Voter Card (PVC) was required to receive the cash.
Some of the voters were seen grumbling that they could not locate their names on the list.
Those whose names were not in the list were asked to go to different locations where money for their wards was being shared.
A young man who was coming out of the premises was asked if he had collected his own money.
He was initially reluctant to respond. But when our correspondent spoke to him in Ekiti language, he opened up.
He said his name was not found in the ward list, and that he was directed to another ward.
Asked how much was being shared, he said: “Some get N2, 000; others get N4, 000” as he hurriedly left.
A woman was seen telling her friend that without her voter’s card, she would not be given the money.
A group of four women were seen talking animatedly. Three of them had succeeded in collecting their cash, but the fourth woman could not collect hers because she did not bring her PVC along.
The other women, while consoling her, said: “After all, you collected rice yesterday. At least you got something.”
More people soon gathered at the entrance, banging on the gate. They accused those sharing the money inside of planning to pocket what is left. Some shouted: “Ole, ole!”
A female security guard opened the gate soon after and everyone trooped into the compound, with pushing and shoving. The gate was shut again as more people gathered.
A middle-aged bearded man, apparently a party leader, warned those who had collected theirs and were leaving not to allow any “APC member” near the place.
Looking around as if to identify “APC members” outside the premises, he shouted: “Don’t allow any APC member near here. If any APC member comes near here, I will break his head.”
Empty packs of F1100 Power Torch Fero Mobile phones littered the scene and around the Old Governor’s Office.
It was not immediately clear if the phones were earlier shared to the voters.
Vote buying and inducement is a common theme in most elections, with major political parties culpable.
As it becomes increasingly difficult to alter election results or adopt other forms of rigging, vote buying and inducement has become the preferred option for garnering votes.
The Ekiti Governorship election is seen as a two-horse race between the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Dr Kayode Fayemi and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart Prof Kolapo Olusola-Eleka.