The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has alleged that the President Muhmmadu Buhari-led government is involved in vote buying by proxy ahead of the governorship election in Edo State.
The party which made the claim in a statement issued on Wednesday signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, added that Buhari’s government must refrain from acts capable of killing the country’s democracy.
While it called on the international community to seriously take note of the strategies of the ruling APC, the party pointed at acts of benevolence by the Buhari administration during campaign periods, noting that this has gone beyond coincidences to becoming a suspicious vote buying by proxy as is being witnessed in Edo State ahead of the election.
The CNPP in the statement added that; “At least, the PDP could be forgiven for coming to a realisation that election rigging will kill the country’s democracy and gave Nigeria the most transparent election in the history of Africa in 2015, leading to the defeat of a sitting President who was also a candidate in the election.
“The ordinary Nigerian electorate who believed in the change mantra of the APC voted the then opposition party into office, reasoning that the party, with the anti-corruption disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari, will leave up to its promise to do things differently.
“Alas, five years down the line, Nigerians are now counting their losses rather than gains. APC is gradually killing all other political parties in the country.
“We must recall that even with the level of election rigging under the PDP led federal government before the globally celebrated 2015 general election that brought the APC to power, smaller political parties were able to win governorship elections in states like Abia, Ondo, Edo, Anambra, to mention a few states.
“However, since the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government have been conducting elections, opposition parties have been at the receiving end as the PDP and APC member can no longer be distinguished with their level of cross carpeting at the slightest convenience, and the result is the stunted democracy and a dying opposition parties that cannot win elections, not because they don’t have strong candidates but for the singular reason that they cannot afford to buy votes.
“Under the Buhari administration, with anti-corruption war as its selling point, electoral corruption through all manners of federal government induced vote buying has been invented in the last five years.
“Such vote buying by proxy schemes like Tradamoni and school feeding programme, nicknamed social investment programme, were fully deployed ahead of 2019 general election, which was superintended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who went from market to market to distribute cash to would-be voters before the elections, with allegations of the APC government collating the permanent voter’s card numbers of the beneficiaries.
“In Kogi State recently, billions of naira were released to the state few days to the state governorship election, an act seen by many stakeholders in the Nigerian pro-democracy family as monies intended for vote buying.
“Today, in Edo State, barely three days to the state governorship election, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) under the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, and an APC member, found the wife of the APC governorship candidate, Ize-Iyamu, as partner in “empowering” women in the state.
“How would the wife of a candidate in an election be partnering with the federal government a few days before the election to “empower” Edo people? How do you defend it? That is a clear vote buying by proxy.
“Right now, desperate APC and PDP chieftains are engaging in a war of words over allegations and counter allegations of vote buying, which was never heard of in all the days of PDP’s electoral impunity.
“No lover of Nigeria will stand while the APC and PDP continue to rape democracy in broad day light,” the statement concluded.
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