March 18 Polls: Vote-Buying Using Anambra Public Funds Seemed Increased From N2.5B To N3.5B
…30 legislative candidates N600m, 21 LGA Chairmen N630m, 326 wards N1.3b or N300k for each of the 4,608 polling units
…police DPOs, Area Commanders and other security chiefs N200m, INEC, PGs, Traditional Rulers, Market Leaders, etc N800m
Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria, Friday, 17th March 2023, Time: 12:30am (Hours Of The Blue Law): The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) wishes to state it has tonight obtained the following credible pieces of information:
1. “That vote-buying by the present Government of Anambra State using State Public Funds has been increased from N2.5b to N3.5b”
2. “That on 9th March 2023, whopping N20m was given to each of the 30 State ruling Party (APGA) legislative candidates for March 18, 2023 House of Assembly Poll, for cash or material vote-buying totaling N600m”
3. “That on 10th March 2023, each of the State 21 Local Government Areas’ Caretaker Committee Chairmen was given N30m for cash or material vote-buying totaling N630m”
4. “That on Monday, 13th March 2023, the Gov of Anambra directed all commercial banks and residents to accept the use of old naira notes of N500 and N1000 in line with CBN directive”
5. “That the Gov’s directive was later found not to beunconnected with the ongoing wasteful spending spree by the State Government for vote-buying and procurement of the State’s 30 Assembly legislative seats”.
6. “That this night being Election Eve of 18th March 2023, not less than N2b cash reportedly found its way into Anambra State and shared among traditional rulers, town union presidents, key market and religious leaders, etc; for purpose of cash vote-buying”.
7. “That the said whopping cash sum was mobilized for the State Government by contractors and commercial bank mangers particularly those banks where the State Government has corporate business interests or dealings”
8. “That the said whopping cash sum was mainly in old N500and N1000 denominations and was being distributed this night for tomorrow’s State Assembly poll cash vote-buying to all the State’s 4,608 polling units/326 electoral wards at N300, 000 per polling unit or N4m-N6m per ward depending on the size of the ward and number of its polling units”.
9. “That in a small community with 14-15 polling units, for instance, N4m was being shared while in those with three or four wards, N12m and N16m, respectively, was being shared”
10. “That the State Public Funds for cash vote-buying was being shared and kept in the hands of town union leaders/traditional rulers in rural areas or Government stakeholders or “urban landlord associations’ PGs’”
11. “That each police DPO and Area Commander posted to the State was reported to have received N500,000 and N1m respectively so as to turn blind eyes in the event of voter suppression and result fixing as well as cooking up trumped up charges against protesting citizens and opposition party agents or supporters as well as aiding and abetting state actor thuggery violence against them”
12. “That the PGs, traditional rulers and other community and religious stakeholders have been adequately mobilized monetarily to the tune of millions of naira each”
13. “That top INEC officials including the State REC, theNational Commissioner in charge and the Collation Officer(s) are likely to have been captured in the wasteful spending spree by the State Government; more so when it has been alleged that the National Commissioner in charge has been in the know of what has been going on”
14. “That he was said to have arrived Awka INEC Headquarterson Wednesday, 15th March 2023 and held closed door meetings with his subordinates, after which it was furtheralleged that he attended a partisan meeting with the Gov of the State at the night of the same day”.
15. “That from our rough calculations, not less than N3.5b from the State coffers was likely to have been wastefully or lavishly spent by the Government and Governor of Anambra State on cash and material vote-buying between 9th and night of 17th March 2023”.
We hereby call on all citizens in the State with PVCs to courageously and conscientiously ignore the State billions being wastefully earmarked for cash and material vote-buying by the Government of Anambra State and fearlessly vote candidates of their choice. The State citizens must rise with strong voice to demand for accountability from the State Government to explain the rationale behind squandering of such huge state funds on electoral frivolities whereas the State road network has remained in shambles.
Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist)
Board Chair @ Intersociety
Chinwe Umeche Esquire
Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program @Intersociety
Obianuju Joy Igboeli Esquire
Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law @ Intersociety
Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire
Head, Campaign and Publicity Department @ Intersociety
Email: [email protected]