Ahead of Saturday’s governorship and state legislative elections across the nation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused politicians of trying to compromise the election by buying votes with food items, cash, gas cylinders, and other items.
Abdulrasheed Bawa, the Chairman of the EFCC, gave this revelation during his interview on Channels Television’s “The 2023 Verdict” programme on Friday, accusing politicians of trying to take advantage of the dire economic situation most Nigerians are going through to get them to vote for them. He said that these politicians were trying to induce Nigerians by offering money, small quantities of food items, and other valuable items.
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“When it comes to the issue of buying and selling votes, people tend to think that buying and selling only happens with cash, but of course, with the situation that comes with the naira redesign some kind of insufficient availability of the naira.
“And we have seen instances and situations where people are being induced and votes are being bought in kind; food items are being used, wiring materials are being used, and other things. We have even seen a situation where even gas cylinders were distributed by a politician for the purpose of wooing voters,” Bawa said.
On the allegation that politicians preloaded gift cards for distribution to voters to induce them to vote for them, the anti-corruption agency boss said that he was aware of such a criminal attempt to induce voters and that the commission was working with the financial institutions to address this challenge.
“Yes, of course, that is even the easiest thing to do because the transactions happened through the financial institution, but the question here is whether or not there is enough evidence now to enable us to link that card that was distributed for the purpose of buying and selling votes. That is the tricky one—it is very important for us to understand that,” he said.
He added that in the course of their investigation, they discovered that most of the bank officials claimed that those cards were ways they assisted beneficiaries in their constituencies to ease their suffering.
He promised that the investigations the commission is carrying out would reveal the truth about this largesse.