NAIRA/DOLLAR RAIN: PDP,APC delegates laugh to the bank

Some of the delegates that participated in the just concluded
primaries of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All
Progressives Congress across the country have been laughing to the bank
following the huge amount of money some aspirants reportedly paid to
them.

The aspirants sent some of the money to the delegates through the leaders of their parties.

It was learnt that apart from the money, incentives such as promise
of automatic employment, among others, were also deployed in wooing the
delegates.

Some delegates who spoke to our correspondents confirmed that they
were given money by some aspirants who needed their votes. However, the
delegates pleaded anonymity for fear of reprisal from their party
leaders.

In Enugu State,It was learnt that most of the delegates that
participated in the various primaries collected money, but some
delegates got more than others.

It was gathered that most of the delegates that voted at the PDP
governorship primary election held on December 8, 2014 at the Nnamdi
Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu, and won by Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, got N100, 000 each.

A delegate, who simply gave his name as Ejiogu, confirmed to one of
our correspondents that he received the amount. But he claimed that the
sum was less than what he expected.

A parallel primary, which was won by Senator Ayogu Eze, was also held in Enugu on the same day.

Although none of the delegates that participated in the parallel
exercise could be reached to confirm the report, it was learnt that they
equally received cash gifts in the region of N100, 000 each.

Delegates that participated in the various primary elections for the
PDP National Assembly tickets also laughed to the bank, particularly in
areas where there were parallel primaries.

“The least we got was N100, 000,” a delegate who pleaded anonymity said, but some delegates said they received N50, 000.

In a particular senatorial zone in the state, there were about four
primaries and people immediately grabbed the opportunity to serve as
delegates.

But a source gathered that delegates that participated at the state
House of Assembly primary were not lucky, as most of them left
empty-handed.

Delegates for the APC governorship primary were also not lucky. It
was learnt that the APC delegates were given N5,000 as their transport
fare.

But delegates for the APC presidential primary were luckier as one
of the aspirants, was said to have donated the sum of N50, 000 to each
of them.

Even before the APC presidential primary, it was said that the
aspirant who later lost, had splashed N16.4m on the 208 APC delegates in
Katsina and N8.5m on delegates in Sokoto states.

Of the N8.5m donated in Sokoto State, the aspirant had said that N5m
was meant for the party’s secretariat in the state; N1m for elders of
the party and N50, 000 each to the 208 delegates.

The PDP in Akwa Ibom State was said to have paid each of its delegates N1m.

It was gathered that the delegates were given the money on the eve of the primaries.

But one of the APC delegates in the state said they were only given
allowance. He said the party was not rich to the extent of doling out
huge amount of money to delegates just to woo them for votes.

“If we collect money, we won’t vote according to our conscience,” he said.

It was celebration in Kwara State as delegates to the APC presidential primary got $7,000 each, according to Punch Newspaper.

The APC presidential primary was held on Wednesday through Thursday in Lagos.

Two of the delegates, however, confided in one of our correspondents
that some of the money was sent to them through the leadership of the
state chapter of the party as an incentive to vote at the primary.

Two delegates to the presidential primary of the APC also said they
each received nothing less than $7,000 as an incentive to vote in the
APC presidential primary.

The delegates who pleaded anonymity to avoid party discipline said
part of the money was allegedly sent to them through the leadership of
the state chapter of APC while some amounts were given directly to them.

But while one of the Kwara State delegates for the PDP convention
declined to either accept or deny that he was offered money, another
delegate said he received $5,000 as logistics and inconvenience
allowance.

The 800 delegates that participated in all the PDP primaries in Cross River State raked in over N500,000 each.

Of the 800 delegates, 60 participated in Wednesday’s PDP national convention in Abuja.

One of the delegates, who preferred to use Jonah Nyam as a pseudo
name, said he got N200, 000 for the state House of Assembly primary;
another N200, 000 for the House of Representatives, N100, 000 for Senate
and N300, 000 for the governorship primaries.

Another delegate simply identified as Mary said she raked in about N600, 000 from all the exercises.

Mr. Eyo Joseph, who hails from the Southern Senatorial District of
the state, said he got N100, 000 from one of the House of Assembly
aspirants, N200, 000 and N250, 000 respectively from two House of
Representatives aspirants in the Calabar South/Akpabuyo/Bakassi
constituency and N430, 000 and 1,500 pounds from two aspirants for
senatorial position.

For the governorship primaries, Joseph said he got N350, 000 which was the flat rate for all the delegates.

Delegates of the All Progressives Congress could not be reached as
majority of them had yet to return from Lagos as of the time of filing
this report.

In Lagos State, it was learnt that a leader of the party gave money
to delegates from all the 20 local government areas of the state.

The 6,000 delegates that participated in the APC governorship
primary in the state shared the N150m allegedly released by the leader,
aside the amount they got from the governorship aspirants.

Specifically, each of the delegates was said to have gotten N25, 000 from the largess.

It was, however, learnt that the Adamawa State Governor, Mr. Bala
Ngillari, promised the 678 PDP delegates in the state automatic
employment.

Ngillari, who was said to have met with the delegates a few days
before the primary, had made the promise for the purpose of wooing them.

A source, who pleaded anonymity, said the governor decided to
promise the delegates automatic employment because of the stiff
opposition he faced from the former Chairman of the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, who won the party’s
primary.

Meanwhile, delegates of both PDP and APC in Abia State denied that they were financially induced by aspirants.

Investigation by one of our correspondents, however, revealed that
during the PDP House of Assembly primary in Umuahia South, a certain
aspirant shared N200, 000 among the 15 delegates.

Similarly, it was rumoured that some aspirants from other parts of the state gave N100, 000 to each of the delegates.

Investigation revealed that during the House of Representatives
primary, aspirants parted with various sum of money ranging from N200,
000 to N300, 000 per delegate. It was the same scenario during the
senatorial and governorship primaries.

A certain governorship aspirant was said to have given out N500, 000
to each delegate, while another parted with N400, 000 each.

In all, a source told one of our correspondents that some delegates, however, got between N800, 000 and N1m.

Two of the delegates who spoke to one of our correspondents in Ogun
State from the two leading political parties were reluctant to disclose
the real incentive they were given by the aspirants.

A PDP delegate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said many of
them voted for the standard bearer of the party, Gboyega Isiaka, on
sympathy ground, because “he had contested the governorship slot in 2011
under the defunct Peoples Party of Nigeria.”

Another delegate said their hotel accommodation, transportation, and
feeding were well taken care of by a particular ‘godfather.’

He said, “Of course, since some of us travelled down from far places
to Abeokuta, definitely, we got some amount of money as our allowance.”

However, it was gathered that the delegates got cash inducements to sway their votes.

Meanwhile the APC has kept its budget for the just concluded
primaries of the party under wraps for fear of running afoul of the
provisions of the Electoral Act on party financing.

A high ranking member of the party confided in one of our
correspondents that it is being kept a closely guarded secret for now
because “no one will want to give INEC an excuse to accuse us of wrong
doing.”

The source explained that the APC being an opposition party was
careful about such matters and would want to remain on the path of
rectitude.

Chairman of the convention planning committee, and former Ekiti
State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had in response to inquiries over the
issue, said he did not have the figures off hand.

He said, “I don’t have a figure in my head. I can tell you that we
have almost 10, 000 delegates who would have to be transported from
their various states and we want this to be in the full glare of
Nigerians so that there will be live television broadcast all through
the convention and there are other cost centres.

“It is not cheap but democracy is not cheap. We have to ensure we do
things properly and in a way that can sell us to Nigerians.

“For us, it is another campaign tool. If we do it well openly and
transparently, it would enhance our reputation as a government in
waiting that is ready for serious business.

“That is what we are out to show. But the cost is something that has
to be put in perspectives. It is not outrageous but it is relatively
small.”

Fayemi, however said his committee was going to present a full
report at the end of the event and that it would contain details of a
financial summary which would be edited.

On its part, the Independent National Electoral Commission has set
up a department to monitor the spending of candidates in the 2015
election.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu,
said this in an earlier interview with journalists. He said such a
structure did not exist in 2011 but that it was now in place to ensure
compliance.

He said, “Now we have been able to put structure in place to track
expenditure and we are going to be doing that. The situation now is that
we can only know that a person has over-spent when he or she has spent
it. You cannot stop people from spending until the person has spent
money.

“What the law anticipates is that we have put a ceiling on spending
and we will now monitor to know whether we can make a case about it.”

Idowu said, “According to section 91 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as
amended, the maximum expenses to be incurred by a candidate at a
presidential election shall be N1bn; for governorship, it is N200m.

“The act also placed a campaign ceiling of N40m and N20m for senatorial and House of Representatives candidates respectively.

“It also fixed amount for election expenses in the state assembly and chairmanship election for an area council at N10m.’’

The act also stipulated sanctions for candidate who flouted the campaign spending limits.

“The sanction for presidential election is N1m or 12 months
imprisonment or both and for governor, N800, 000 or nine months or both.

“While the sum of N600, 000 or six months imprisonment is stipulated
for a senatorial candidate, the sum of 500,000 or five months
imprisonment is also stipulated for a House of Representatives candidate
who defaults on the campaign spending.”

Attempts to get official comments from the National Publicity
Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed were unsuccessful as of the
time of filing this report. Calls to his mobile telephone number were
not picked. A response to a text message was still being awaited as of
9: 36pm

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