Ondo 2016: How money played major role in APC primary

Photo credit: saharareporters.com
Photo credit: saharareporters.com

While the All Progressives Congress-led federal government has made the anti-corruption war a priority, the conduct of the party’s members in Ondo shows a lot still needs to be done to sensitise Nigerians on the malaise.

The way money was shared by aspirants and their agents to the hundreds of delegates at the venue of the congress, a common scenario in Nigerian polity, arguably demonstrates the endemic corruption in the nation’s political system.

One of the 24 governorship aspirants of the party, Tunji Ariyomo, believes corruption is systemic and not necessarily the character of the average Nigerian.

Mr. Ariyomo said the buying of votes in the Nigerian political system will continue regardless of which political party is in power. He said the corruption will continue as long as the present electoral system, where delegates and not the people choose their representatives, continues.

He argued that the only way President Muhammadu Buhari can build on the electoral reforms of the past administration is to abolish the delegates system and adopt the open system of primaries where citizens can have the opportunity to choose their candidates.

Mr. Ariyomo lamented the situation where the delegates were virtually camped away by some contenders making it difficult for other competitors to woo them legitimately.

“The primary election here appears transparent as you can see, but the process needs to be changed so that the people can decide, rather than use the delegates system,” he said.

According to him, he did not spend any money on any delegate as that would contradict his belief on an equitable process.

“There is yet to be an equitable process, even though everyone seems to be on an equal platform,” the aspirant said.

Other aspirants spoke on how the primary helped some delegates make money off different candidates.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that some major aspirants gave delegates between N150,000 and N200,000 to secure their votes.

Other less wealthy aspirants gave between N25,000 and N100,000 to each delegate.

The only female aspirant, Jumoke Ajasin Anifowose, said she was not prepared to pay money for votes, as it appeared the highest bidder would win the day.

“I did not pay money to anybody, ” she said.

Some delegates, who confirmed how much they were given, spoke on how they were treated.

According to them, each aspirant brought his loyal delegates into Akure and lodged them in a hotel beyond the reach of rivals. The aspirant then ensured that none of them went out until the morning of accreditation and voting.

“We were lodged in the hotel by our aspirant. And if you lodge in the hotel you will be given money, ” a delegate from Owo, who did not want his name mentioned, said.

He said he was given N100, 000 by his preferred candidate before he cast his vote.

Another delegate, who only provided his first name as Fatai, said he only got N20,000 as “pocket money,” from his candidate.

“What I got was N20,000 and it was given to me as pocket money,” Fatai said.

“I voted for the aspirant because I love him and not because of money.”

The primary election was conducted by the Governor of Jigawa State, Mohammed Abubakar, who pledged to uphold fairness and transparency during the exercise.

About 2774 delegates were accredited for the election from the three senatorial districts of the state.

Rotimi Ogunleye, a media aide to Olusola Oke, one of the front runners in the primaries, said cash was not the determining factor in the support and votes garnered by his boss.

He admitted that money was spent, but noted that it was not about the cash.

“While I do not rule out the fact that running a political structure requires money, especially issues of logistics; political support is not based on cash,” he said.

“It is about coagulating interest, creating and sustaining relationship. It is not about cash.”

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that some aspirants made double payments after the delegates list was amended on the night before the election.

According to a source within the party, some of the aspirants had to “recharge their barrels” to chase the new delegates who were later included in the list.

“That means spending additional funds,” he said. “You can imagine after giving out N100million, what are you going to do when the list of delegates was suddenly changed and you did not have access to it until about 10 p.m. on Friday.”

But speaking on the development, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Ondo, Omo’oba Adesanya, said giving money to delegates was a form of allowance and not necessarily bribery or buying of votes.

He said the delegates left their homes for two days or more and should be properly taken care of or the aspirants would not be fair to them.

Mr. Adesanya, who was also a delegate at the primary, noted that the funds were privately sourced and not from public funds, and so could not be described as corruption.

“The delegates deserve some form of allowances for bringing them out from their homes and comfort to Akure for two days,” he argued.

“Even government officials, governors and other persons, including the security agencies that participated in the primaries received some form of allowances. So I don’t see any problem with the aspirants providing allowances for the delegates.

“What they got is not outrageous because some of them came from very far away. Some from the creeks and riverine areas; so it is not out of place to ensure that they were taken care of.”

Mr. Adesanya said the election, which eventually produced a lawyer, Rotimi Akeredolu, as winner and APC candidate, was peaceful, credible and transparent.

He said all the aspirants would come together to ensure the party emerged victorious in November.

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  • Kamalu

    There we go again. “Bribery is not corruption” says Omo’oba Adèsanya, the APC Publicity Secretary in Ondo State. When politicians buy their way through, public office becomes an investment that must be recouped. It is the reason corruption has become systemic and endemic.

  • AHOT

    According to Mr Adesanya, “Even government officials, governors and other persons, including the security agencies that participated in the primaries received some form of allowances. So I don’t see any problem with the aspirants providing allowances for the delegates…”

    Mr Adesanya, If indeed what the delegates were given were allowances, it should not have come directly from the aspirants.
    I think instead of putting the delegates up for the highest bidder, the party should have levied all the aspirants uniformly and transparently disburse the money to accounts of the delegates transparently and with clear and clean records kept. The delegates will consider it as allowance “from the party” will be free to make their choices without being tied to the apron of any of the aspirants.

  • Freedom Bini

    Hope everyone had seen now that there is no hope that Nigeria can get out alive from the claws of the Politicians.They are all practically the same but with different names.

    • Kaykay is okay

      APC party is a coalition of illiterates. There’s nobody in APC with knowledge, wisdom,

      or understanding of public policy or development economics – not a single person.

      Bola Tinubu is their leader – a mentally dissolute fellow who told the public that

      the solution to economic recession is for government to keep printing money.

      How can educated Nigerians now expect anything but ruin from such mentality?

  • Olusola Rotimi

    What is the solution for this country?

    • Freedom Bini

      Damaged beyond repairs and no spare parts

      • Dokita

        @freedombini:disqus

        Nigeria under Buhari and Tinubu: The making of a failed state

        A leadership recruitment of a country that starts with bribes to the voting delegates is flawed and fated
        to produce criminal output. Public office is for sale in Nigeria. That’s why the politics of Nigeria is bereft.
        No issues; no ideology in any political party, no sense, no direction; just recession, smells, amulets, daggers, theft and looting plus killings, blood and sorrows for the ordinary people who queue to vote.

        That is not what a sensible country should look like.
        Nigeria is presently put in the same group as war torn Somalia on
        the index of failed states in the world. Nigeria has no reasonable chance to
        exit that infamous category anytime soon.

        Perjurers and school certificate failures rule, rob and ruin Nigeria.
        Anyone looking up to development from empty heads is unwise. There’s no one on
        the political stage today in Nigeria who can be described as a HONEST MAN OF
        KNOWLEDGE – not one person! With such a sorry fact at play, just fiddling with
        exchange rate and bank lending rates, is a waste of time. The human mind is the
        lever of real development.

    • Samadani

      Support Baba to fight corruption to a standstill!

  • evidence

    We all know how Tinubu marched Atiku double dollar for dollar to clinch the ticket for Buhari during the APC presidential primaries, so this is not news.‎

    • FirecloudOFGOD

      Who are we? Were you there?

    • paul irumundomon

      They said only pdp are fraud stars, that apc did not spend money or if they did, the money came from Iran and saudi arabia.

      • Mufu Ola

        We didn’t hear the money are from CBN vaults.Did we? They are private funds & those candidates are not in govt yet. It’s different from PDP casting away public money to finance their campaign.And Fayose collecting stolen money & still bragging.

  • Tiwa Adebayo

    APC would lose

  • UOU

    Anti corruption nonsense falacy even during apc presidential primary everyone know that the money shared in that event could save nigeria from economic malady, monies stolen from state coffers by amaechi, fashola, kwakwaso, tinubu , aregbesole, fayemi etc

  • True Nigerian

    Nigeria is rotten. It is rotten in the head and the stomach. Without a thorough clean-up, the country will go only one way – death.

  • paul irumundomon

    The apc secretary, Omo’oba Adesanya called 150,000 to 200,000 naira as allowance. This is a party, who pride herself to fight curroptions. The deligates were actually kidnapped, they were kept against their will, in a hotel, that is kidnapping.
    If a candidate, gets 1,400 votes, Nigerians, calculate how much for one night, a candidate spent, to buy votes, and deaf and dead people believed, these politicians are out there, to help their people. How much more are they going to spend in the general elections. They want to lower the age to compete, to include younger Nigerians , access into Nugeria dirty politics, those that will qualify, are those, who’s parents stole, not those who’s parents play by the book.

    How and where this money came from. Even these delightes are not even bold to speak publicly, they are intimidated that they are speaking under condition of anonymity.

  • aisha ani

    Ondo state people are notorious for collecting your money and not voting.

  • favourtalk

    I dont believe in all this news, any candidate that want to contest cant leave his candidate to strand all around akure when some villages are very far from akure, we need to see some things as they are

  • and the Publicity secretary called #150000 to #200000 a form of allowance for just 2 days? I think if APC is serious about fight against corruption, why not make provision for the delegates and give all aspirants equal access to the delegates rather than leave them at the mercy of the aspirants to lodge them in hotel. It is only an ingrate will vote against someone that provide you shelter and food. The best thing to do is that the party should bill all the aspirants for the welfare of the delegates and give all aspirants equal access to the delegates to woo them. When someone has already spent close to 300 million naira on ordinary party primary election how on earth do we expect him to deliver dividends of democracy. Won’t he recoup the money spent. We the followers are the major problem of Nigeria.

  • JP

    Rotten nation.

  • forestgee

    Am sure those who wanted change are still looking for it!!!!! Crisis

  • AyPoint Blank

    It’s a pity that we are seeing politics as a form of charity where stakeholders have no right to be paid! Money is used all over the world to oil politics. Those delegates are politicians who deserved to be paid for their services. In a capitalist state like ours, poor men hardly win elections … and rightly so! What should be our concern should be the source of funding? Is it ONSA-like source or from private individuals? Are we saying 150k is too much for a delegate’s loyalty and comfort for two days? No wonder many of us are just what we are … internet rats!!!!

  • sanetalk

    I watched both the Republican and Democratic parties’ conventions and can confirm that delegates were accommodated, fed and given allowances from the coffers of the parties and NOT the contestants. Some of us have been making donations from as low as $1 to the Hilary Clinton campaign to meet her electioneering campaign expenses, this is how things are done in civilized climes. If individuals spend their personal resources to contest elections, it equates to investments that must be recouped many fold by embezzling public resources on assumption of office. There is need to reorientate our people on the benefits of taking ownership of the political process by making financial contributions to the running of their parties and reject cash for votes
    PMB should introduce measures to check this menace that became the norm sine the second republic.

    • Rominiyis

      Very good points. PARTY SHOULD FUND DELEGATES TO PRIMARY CONVENTION NOT CANDIDATES. …APC National Secretariat 40 Blantyre Street, off Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Wuse II, Abuja, FCT NIGERIA Attn: John Odigie Oyegun ..