Politicians Buying PVCs In Opponents’ Strongholds In Northern Nigeria

POLITICIANS and political parties in the north are offering cash to prospective voters in exchange for their permanent voters cards (PVCs), especially in areas they believe to be strongholds of their opponents, it has been learnt.

This practice, it was gathered, involved some politicians in the major political parties, including the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Against this background, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) urged the electorate in the north to guard their PVCs and not to sell them to those it described as prowling politicians. The CNG’s spokesperson, AbdulAzeez Suleiman, made the plea while speaking on the development in a chat with Saturday Tribune.

A member of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Kaduna State, Ja’afar Abubakar, told Saturday Tribune that in some cases, representatives of the two major parties ‘buy’ PVCs from their owners.

“In areas where the parties feel they have lost control or they cannot win, they make sure they collect as many PVCs as possible in order to reduce the voting powers of those areas,” Abubakar said.

A member of the Labour Party (LP) in Kaduna who sought anonymity told Saturday Tribune that his party had lost many supporters due to the influence of moneybags in other political parties.

It was observed by Saturday Tribune that the major political parties have stormed many rural areas and made massive purchase of voters cards.

A video showing a politician in Borno State giving some Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), mostly women, N500 in exchange for their PVCs has also been trending on social media.

Saturday Tribune also learnt that many people in the region, especially women, are no longer enthusiastic about voting due to failed promises by politicians.

Saude Usman, a woman in the Kaduna metropolis who claimed to be a politician, told Saturday Tribune: “We voted for the APC in the past but what did we get in return apart from pain and frustration? So, many people like me have resolved not to vote again.

According to her, she is ready to sell her PVCs to the highest bidder. She said she and other people had collected their PVCs and were waiting for those who would buy them.

Disturbed by the develop- ment, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) had recently raised the alarm that a large- scale buying of voter’s cards was going on in the North.

The NEF had lamented that its investigations showed that political parties were buying PVCs at the rate of N2,000 from each prospective voter.

The forum warned community leaders and major stakeholders in the region on the dangers of vote buying. It said: “Many people would be disenfranchised in the North.

Thousands, or possibly even millions, of Northern voters, particularly women, are being made to surrender their PVCs for a pittance, in most in- stances not more than N2,000.”

The NEF, in a statement signed by its Director of Publicity and Education, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, said: “In some instances, they are told their cards will be returned to them after they are processed for additional payments as poverty relief.

“Our investigations suggest that this is an aggressive and blatant voter suppression at- tempt to reduce the voting powers of the North.

“We have been assured by INEC that this practice in itself will not compromise its systems and processes.

“People who are involved in this practice appear to be working for different parties but they target communities where they assume their parties or candidates have comparative advantages or disadvantages.

“Every Northerner should know that our voting popula- tion and turnout during elec- tions are the only powers we have left, but we can use them to affect who will lead us at the next elections.”

The NEF had contended that if people want to change the present crop of leaders, they must have the voting power, which their PVCs represent.

The forum appealed to the Northern electorate not to mortgage their rights but to be firm about voting leaders who can change the narrative. It charged them to troop out and exercise their franchise on election days.

Desperate politicians will always buy PVCs –Kaduna PDP

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the PDP Gubernatorial Campaign Council in Kaduna State, Reuben Buhari, exonerated his party from the recent PVC buying alleged to be carried out by some political parties in order to win the coming general election. Buhari said his party is bank- ing on its popularity and is sure of winning the election. “We heard that some po- liticans are buying PVCs. A woman came to tell us what was going on but we are not involved. Only those desper- ate to win at all costs are involved in this.

“Honestly, I don’t think they will succeed because INEC has said they are wasting their time,” he said.
PDP, APC deny vote buying in Sokoto
In Sokoto State, the ruling PDP and its major opposition, the APC, denied buying of PVCs from members of the public.

The spokesman of the PDP in the state, Hassan Shahabi Sanyinnawal, said the party was not interested in the buying of PVCs from prospective voters.

Sanyinnawal said the party believed in campaigning for elections rather than acquiring votes through the back door.

He said: “You will recall that even the governor, during our campaign trip to one of the local governments in the state, advised the people of the state not to trade their PVCs for anything.”

Vote buying unhealthy for democracy –Zamfara APP gov candidate

The governorship candidate of the Action People’s Party (APP) in Zamfara State, Za- yyanu Salisu Haske, described vote buying as unhealthy for democracy.

Haske lamented that those with the mindset of buying votes were only desperate to be in power, not to serve the people.

He said that democracy could not develop with corruption and that those buying votes were corrupt politicians.

The APP candidate stressed that politicians who are pre- pared to buy votes from the electorate have also prepared themselves for stealing public funds if they achieved their goal.

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