Vote buying, apathy mar Gombe polls
Some party agents were on Saturday arrested by a detachment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at Buhari Primary School Nayinawa area of Gombe State for attempting to buy votes.
An voter at polling unit 22, Pantami ward, who pleaded anonymity, said they chose to call the operatives of the anti graft agency after the police officers attached to the polling unit failed to stop the illegal activities.
Our correspondent reports that about two party officials were whisked away to EFCC’s zonal office for interrogation before they were released.
The source said, “We called the EFCC’s contact when the police officers turned blind eye to what was happening there. APC agent was buying votes with N2,000. We complained to the police that they didn’t do anything, then an INEC staff gave us EFCC contact and they promised to be there in 20 minutes.”
In spite of that, our correspondent observed that there was low voter turnout for the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections which led to earlier completion of voting in most polling units before scheduled time.
Earlier in the day, after casting his ballot, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Muhammad Barde, alleged that there had been widespread vote buying and selling.
Barde urged the residents to collect the money shared and vote according to their conscience.
“Our supporters should collect and vote for their conscience. They have suffered for three years and 10 months. Vote buying of N200, N500 won’t take them for next four years,” Barde added.
Speaking about his confidence in winning despite the alleged vote buying, Barde said, “We are confident of winning the election. We are aware that there is massive vote buying by the APC government across the state. We are aware of their plans to intimate voters to ensure they cause mayhem across the state they have no other action they can take apart from massive vote buying and causing mayhem across the polling units. we are reporting to the enforcement agencies, we have the EFCC and we are ensuring we report.”
A voter at Garko ward, polling unit 109, who identified himself as Baba Seyi, said he was offered N2,000, adding that he would simply vote for his conscience, adding that voter apathy was due to voters’ belief that INEC subverted their will.
“Before thugs dispersed us from the polling unit, making us come here, some of them came to offer us N2,000 but I can’t imagine myself collecting money to vote for someone who will not perform. The people did not come because they are not sure the votes will count,” Baba Seyi said.
Also speaking, another voter who identified himself as Mustapha Dangurugu, said the vote buying was across the two major political parties.
According to him, “Whatever, the outcome of this election it’s a product of vote buying. The winner only spent more than the would-be loser. In some places PDP gave 5,000 per votes. In other polling units like Tudunwada, APC can give you 10,000 once you proved you voted for them.