Many residents of Sokoto have recounted how politicians in the state were out to buy their votes. Some others at several polling units have also revealed how they witnessed vote buying business taking place
Items, from cash to phones, bags of rice, bedspreads, and clothing materials were allegedly distributed. In some instances even live animals, such as goats were offered to entice the voters.
“In Sokoto vote -buying reared its ugly head viciously. It was a widespread phenomenon during the just- held general elections. It was an open market for vote-buying and was carried out with impunity,” Sadiya Abdullahi a resident of Sokoto lamented.
Twenty-five-year-old Zainab, who cast her ballot at a polling unit along Ahmadu Rufai Road in the metropolis, said voters were given N5,000, a sack of rice and wrappers by agents of political parties after they subtly make voters to cast their ballot in favour of their party.
A house wife Mama Maryam, said at her polling unit in Dambuwa area, voters were forced to accept offers to sell their votes.
“They coerced voters and even intimated others especially women who were vulnerable and easy to manipulate. They issued voters with a small piece of cardboard paper which has number on it. After you are made to vote for their party, you collect that small cardboard paper
that you would present to some women waiting in a nearby house who collect the paper and give you a wrapper and just N500.”
Another female voter in the area Safiya recalled: “There was heavy presence of women at a high profile politician’s house struggling with one another to collect their promised items and each holding a piece of cardboard paper which was marked.”
“I lied to the politician’s wives and collected three wrappers instead of one because I was stunned by the bales of materials I saw, there were so many indeed.”
For Usman Nasir : “In my area, we were promised N10, 000 a week to the election day but when we delivered our votes, they gave us N5,000 instead.”
At Bello Way area, residents disclosed that they were given N5, 000 and measures of rice.
A higher level of votes’ transaction was alleged to have taken place as revealed by an adhoc staff. ” We were assembled at a 5-star hotel room where we were promised N100,000 for lower level patronage, N250,000 for middle level of patronage and N500,000 for highest level of patronage,” he said.
A number of the voters expressed sadness over the situation.
“Politicians made the whole process unfree and unfair and I am totally sad about the whole thing,” Mama Maryam stated.
“The way they went about it is so disturbing. They disregarded the democratic norms and put all their hopes on vote buying. This is not what Sokoto used to be, politicians are so desperate now, they can do anything for power.”
Ali, who was given a phone in exchange for his vote, said:” ‘It is unfortunate that candidates are paying for support instead of competing fairly for votes.”
Mrs Adamu, another Sokoto resident refused to go out to vote because she had noticed the vote-buying business.
“Was that a political process or business activity that took place last Saturday?” she asked rhetorically.
She was particularly concerned that many voters allowed politicians to pay them off.
“All hands should be on deck to tackle the trend. If politicians continue to get away with such and they realise it works, they would not stop, they would continue with the dangerous trend. We need to put an end to corrupt election practices,” she emphasised.
Supporting Mrs Adamu’s submission ,Mallam Sirajo added:”The situation is dispiriting, we should urgently reverse the trend, if politicians reckon that all they need to do to grab power is to pay off voters and personnel involved in the process they would continue to stick to that. That means we are doomed, God forbid but it is a real threat to the conduct of credible election.”
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