Confession of a Member of House Of Reps: 'I Paid Money To Secure My Seat'.
In Nigeria, politics has become the best way for people to line their own pockets first, while serving the people has taken a back seat. Consequently politicians are ready to go to any length to get party nominations or emerge winners at the polls.
Against this backdrop, Huhuonline.com understands that Hon. Saudatu. A. Sanni , chairman of house committee on Millennium Development Goal, has admitted she paid one million naira as bribe to secure her seat in 2007.
Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks reveals that Hon. Saudatu. A. Sanni paid state party delegates in excess of USD7,812(N1, 000,000) to win the party nomination for reelection.
According to Hon.Sani, she paid 20,000 Naira (USD 156) to each of the 50 state party delegates in order to secure the nomination.
Continuing, Sani said her opponent had made a last-minute attempt to pay each of the delegates 50,000 Naira (USD 390), but that she had intervened with the bank where her opponent had taken out a loan, delaying the loan and thereby scuttling the attempt.
Hon. Saudatu .A. Sanni represents Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna state and was former chairman house committee on women affair. She is a member of the house committee on Donor Agencies, State and Local government affairs and Women Affairs.
Full text of the diplomatic cable, reads :
Classified By: Ambassador John Campbell for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶ 1. (S) SUMMARY. House of Representatives member Saudatu A.
Sani, strictly protect, told Poloffs on January 23 that she
bought her PDP nomination to return to the House for
approximately 1 million Naira (USD 7,812). Sani maintained
that the party primaries are the most corrupt segment of the
elections process. She indicated that she and several other
candidates plan to speak out about the process once they are
reelected. According to Sani, the current system of
nominating candidates favors male candidates as they have
access to more money. Sani also expressed exasperation at
the level of corruption and also relayed to Poloffs a story
of microcredit loans allocated by the Federal Government to
the Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank, for
which she has been unable to track funds, trace payments or
find grant recipients. END SUMMARY.
BUYING THE PDP NOMINATION
¶ 2. (S) Saudati Sani (strictly protect), PDP member of the
House of Representatives and Chair of Commitee on Women's
Affairs and Youth, told Poloffs on January 23 that she paid
state party delegates in excess of USD 7,800 to win the party
nomination for reelection. According to Sani, she paid
20,000 Naira (USD 156) to each of the 50 state party
delegates in order to secure the nomination. Sani said her
opponent had made a last-minute attempt to pay each of the
delegates 50,000 Naira (USD 390), but that she had intervened
with the bank where her opponent had taken out a loan,
delaying the loan and thereby scuttling the attempt.
According to Sani, she and several other House members
seeking reelection plan to speak out about the corruption of
the system -- immediately following their reelection, of
¶ 3. (C) Sani outlined the other expenses involved in her
nomination as well. She told Poloffs she paid 5,000 Naira
(approximately USD 40) per day for each of ten vans she used
on the campaign, as well as the expenses for her campaign
team members. The large sums of money needed to secure the
nomination, she contended, made it almost impossible for
women to succeed as they often do not have the financial
resources of their male colleagues. Even the reduced cost of
the PDP declaration form, she contended, in the end works
against women as it undermines the perceived strength of
female candidates in the eyes of men in the party. Sani
claimed the PDP rule allowing women a "handicap" in the
nomination process was simply for show and would never be
applied in practice. (NOTE: PDP headquarters confirmed that
according to the PDP primary rules a candidate must receive
50 percent of the vote to gain the nomination. If, however,
a male candidate wins the most votes, but less than 50
percent, and a female candidate wins the second most votes,
the nomination will be given to the female candidate without
a runoff. Likewise, if a female candidate wins the most
votes, but less than 50 percent, the nomination will be given
to her without a runoff. No female candidates won nomination
by this rule.)
¶ 4. (C) COMMENT. It is interesting to note that the common
practice is for each of the candidates to pay every delegate
and compete in a "bidding war" for the vote, rather than to
focus money on paying just the number of delegates needed to
secure the majority. The bidding war nature of the
competition also requires delegates to disclose to the
candidates the amounts paid by their opponents. In other
words, the corruption is blatant, with no attempt to hide the
¶ 5. (C) COMMENT CONTINUED. It should also be noted that this
level of corruption is taking place within a single political
party, where the candidates would normally be presumed to
share like ideologies and an allegiance to the party.
Likewise, the party delegates would normally be presumed to
vote with the best interest of the party and the potential
for winning the election in mind. Aside from the immediate
payoff of 20,000 Naira, payment for a vote would only be
worthwhile if you thought the candidate would win in the end
(as patronage would follow the party lines). This may be yet
another signal that PDP members are highly confident of their
ability to win the elections at all levels. END COMMENT.
ABUJA 00000163 002.2 OF 002
MICROCREDIT LOAN GRANT UNTRACEABLE
¶ 6. (S) In describing the absurdity of current levels of
corruption, Sani sited the example of 100 million Naira (USD
781,250) which was given by the Federal Government to the
Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank (ACRDB)
for microcredits to women's enterprises. According to Sani,
the terms of the grant stated that the money should be loaned
to women in twelve selected states and the governments of the
selected states should also pay into the grant fund
(increasing the fund to well over 100 million Naira). Sani
has been attempting to follow-up on the fund to track the
success of the microcredits. She was appalled, however, when
no one (including the ACRDB, the Ministry of Women's Affairs,
or the State offices of women's affairs) could tell her what
had happened to the money, or even which states had been
selected to receive the funds. With no record of which
states were selected, Sani said the funds became almost
impossible to track. Sani told Poloffs initiating an
investigation into the use of these funds is one of her top
priorities upon reelection.