Agents of the two major political parties- the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party – have been found buying votes in the ongoing governorship election in Edo State.
A Premium Times Centre For Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) observer who witnessed the situation explained that while vote-buying was going on in some polling units, party agents in other polling units were coercing the aged to vote their preferred candidates.
Party agents in PU unit 1, Ward 4 in Etsako East local government were also thumbprinting for voters which is against the electoral act.
But a presiding officer who introduced himself as Timothy said ”everything is under control.”
The electoral act says a voter commits an offence of bribery where ‘’before or during an election directly or indirectly himself or by any other person on his behalf receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration, office, place of employment…”
The act also said that any person who commits the offence of bribery is liable on conviction on of fine of not more than N500,000 or imprisonment for 12 months or both.
‘Money too small’
A woman in Ward 5, PU 13-18 at the Marie Goretti College, Ikpoba Okha local government. was seen complaining to some thugs that she was only given N500 after she voted.
Also, a woman in Ward 2, Ewohimi II, PU 007, Azagba Ikeken Pry Sch, ESAN South-east local government was seen chanting “vote and collect 5k (N5000)”, but she did not mention the party which she belongs to.
It was also observed that party agent approached a motorcyclist who was transporting a PTCIJ observer in Urhonigbe Ward 07, Akugbe Primary School and offered him N2000 after casting his vote.
The observer said the bike man declined the cash.
According to the observer, the motorcyclist said the said party (name withheld as we are yet to verify) is giving out N2000 while the ‘other party’ is giving out N5000.