The reports circulating on social media platforms has alleged that as Governorship Election takes place in Osun state, some of the contestants and their political associates have devised new means and tactics to induce voters ahead of the poll.
Investigation has revealed that the representatives of at least one of the contestants were using the WhatsApp social media platform to woo Permanent Voter Card holders, who are residents of Osun State, to sell their votes.
This was despite attempts by the Independent National Electoral Commission to curb vote-buying and selling especially in the Osun election.
The people involved in the act cleverly hid their identities. To track the identities of the buyers and the politicians they were working for, someone 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 each memebers account number at 6am on Election Day.
The investigator was asked to send his account detail, age, town, ward and unit to claim the amount.
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 investigator 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.
Meanwhile, one of the contestants was said to have started distributing money to the ward leaders who would identify names of their party members on the voter registers and pay them ahead of the poll.
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.”
Saturday PUNCH 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. The same candidate was said to have distributed forms to prospective voters, asking them to fill in their accounts details to enable them to be credited with the sum of N10,000.
The amount is said to be meant for any voter with a PVC.
APC, PDP trade blames over allegations of vote-buying. But the APC and the PDP trade blames over allegations of vote-buying on Friday, accusing each other of trying to sway voters by offering electorate money for their votes.
The PDP accused the ruling party of planning to buy votes with billions of naira in order to manipulate the people to vote for the ruling party’s candidate, Gboyega Oyetola.
The opposition party denied that its candidate in the election, Ademola Adeleke, was collecting bank details of the electorate through a WhatsApp number in order to buy their votes.
He said the allegation was a rumour and that Adeleke would play by the rules of the election.
The PDP Chairman in Osun State, Mr. Soji Adagunodo, who said this on Friday at a press conference at the party secretariat, noted that the party had detected several means through which the APC wanted to rig the election.
Adagunodo said, “We wish to alert the general public to the planned monetisation of the Osun State governorship election, especially the voting process, by the APC. Towards this ignoble end, several helicopters loaded with cash were flown into the Government House between the hours of 4pm and 8pm on Thursday.
“The money, which we were reliably informed about run into billions of naira, was contributed by state governors elected on the platform of the APC to enable the party to induce voters at various polling units.
“In addition, each of the 67 local government council development areas in Osun State was made to cough up N12.5m for the same purpose.
The plan of the APC, as gathered from very credible sources, was to buy votes with a sum ranging from N5,000 to N10,000 each at the polling units.
“It is quite unfortunate that a government which did not find it compelling to pay salaries and allowances of its workforce for 34 months could resort to attempting to buy the conscience of voters in this election.
But, when contacted, a chieftain of the APC in Osun State, Mr. Sola Fasure, who is also the media aide to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, asked the PDP to provide evidence of its allegations. In defence of the ruling party, Fasure said the opposition party had started inducing voters ahead of the election, adding that the PDP raised the allegation as a smokescreen to divert attention from the alleged electoral fraud the party had perfected.
He said, “The PDP and its candidate have been sending messages out to obtain account numbers of the people whose vote they want to buy. They are using this allegation to cover their own heinous and sinister practice of trying to induce voters.
“They are making allegations without evidence but we have evidence of them trying to induce voters. They are the ones actually sending messages and trying to induce these voters with cash.