As 48 governorship candidates from 48 political parties jostle for 1,246,915 votes in the Osun State governorship election holding on Saturday (today), some of the contestants and their political associates have devised new means and tactics to induce voters ahead of the poll..
Of the 48 candidates, however, only five are regarded as major contenders. The five include Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Moshood Adeoti of the African Democratic Party (ADP), Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Fatai Akinbade of the African Democratic Congress (ADC)
To track the identities of the buyers and the politicians they were working for, one of our correspondents connected to an online link that in turn linked him with a WhatsApp number 08120569530, where he was asked a series of questions to ascertain if he actually had a permanent voter card and if he was an Osun State indigene.
The administrator later promised that N10,000 would be deposited into our correspondent’s account number at 6am on Election Day. The correspondent was asked to send his account detail, age, town, ward and unit to claim the amount.
The administrator said, “You’ll receive bank alert 6am on the Election Day. Don’t forget to pass this good news to all your friends and family. Make sure you add us to you(r) phone book and don’t forget to send this to all your friends and family living in around Osun State. Expect our call anytime from now.”
It was difficult to ascertain the party or governorship candidate that initiated the payment process. When our correspondent tried to call the number, using Truecaller, a mobile app that finds contact details globally, to trace the owner, it did not respond.
Almost immediately, the administrator sent a message that our correspondent would be stopped from enjoying the N10,000 vote-buying price. “Please, no WhatsApp call and if you keep calling, we’ll block you,” the administrator wrote.
A source close to one of the politicians told one of our correspondents on Friday that money had been moved to where the distribution would be done in order to pay for the votes.
He said, “There is nothing they can do to stop vote-buying especially in this election, because politicians are desperate to outdo one another in their bid to buy votes.
“They have started bringing money out but this time round, because of the noise over it, they will be more discreet in sharing the money. Money has been given to the leader of the party in our area but they are yet to tell us how much.”
We gathered that the sponsor of a particular candidate compelled some party leaders to swear an oath that they would spend the money he wanted to give them to induce voters and not pocket them.
Some of the leaders were said to have agreed while a few of them were said to have rejected the money because they could not swear this oath of allegiance.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has said it will monitor money transfers, collaborate with banks, arrest and prosecute vote-buyers during the Osun State governorship election on Saturday (today).
The EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, who stated this in Abuja at a strategic meeting with said the anti-graft agency would use the Osun election as “a test case.” Magu threatened that unrepentant vote buyers and their potential customers would be arrested and prosecuted if they ply their trade in the Osun election.