Security agencies have uncovered how the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has allocated about $3million (N1.8billion) to each state branch of the party, allegedly for inducement of voters.
The cash was remitted before last Saturday’s postponement elections, but most state chapters were finding it difficult to change the cash to naira because of the surveillance on Bureau De Change operators by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
Also, the agencies have intercepted alleged compromise of some officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), policemen and other security agents in some states.
The intelligence report, including the alleged implication of a former top official of INEC, may be presented to the chairman of the electoral commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, by the security agencies.
A former Resident Electoral Commissioner is believed to be neck-deep in the massive cash-for-votes plot.
Besides, a member of the National Peace Committee headed by former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar has been fingered in “political romance” with the opposition, contrary to the mandate of the group.
The popular thinking is that the PDP has hidden under the guise of “logistics” to allocate about $3 million (N1.8billion) per state, which security agencies discovered that it was for inducement of voters.
Based on the 36 states, about $111 million (N66.6billion) has been deployed by the leading opposition party to influence voters.
The intelligence report indicated that the money was different from the cash allocated to “compromise some officers of INEC, policemen and security agents in some states” which had been marked by security agencies.
An intelligence source said: “Reports so far have showed that the main opposition party has allocated $3m(N1.8billion) to each of its state chapters under the guise of logistics for the general elections.
“But intelligence confirmed that the cash is for vote buying with about N400,000 devoted to some polling units out of the nation’s 120,000.
“Some of the huge cash cannot be converted to Naira because of the surveillance on Bureau De Change operators by the EFCC and DSS.
“And most banks have become circumspect in view of a similar experience in 2015 in which about N23.9 poll bribery cash was shared through their branches.”
The source, who pleaded not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter, gave insights into the alleged compromise of some INEC officers through a former top shots of the electoral commission who had been engaged as consultants.
The source added: “Detectives also discovered a ‘grand compromise’ of some INEC officers, policemen and others in some states. A former INEC top officer and ex-Resident Electoral Commissioner are implicated in the plans to compromise the nation’s electoral integrity.
“These former top INEC officers were found to have played a key role in the recruitment of the ad hoc staff in some strategic states by using internal links/ surrogates in INEC to perfect their plot. Many officers in INEC, who were recruited by these former officers, are still loyal to them.
“These ex-officers had infiltrated the system and could cause any sabotage of the poll at any point, if it does not favour those who hired them. This is why it is easier for the opposition to have every detail about the movement and actions of INEC chairman and his National Commissioners.
“The intelligence report will be made available to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, especially as it relates to its field officers in some states.
“As for policemen and other security agents, the appropriate authorities are handling specific cases. And these issues will be attended to before the beginning of the poll on Saturday.”
Asked if the intelligence report has been made available to the National Peace Committee, the source said: “It is still an intelligence document as I speak with you now.
“The challenge we are having also is that a member of the committee has been fingered in a political romance with the opposition because of vested interests in some deals.
“Notwithstanding, the government will decide on how and when to brief relevant stakeholders.”
Reacting, INEC said it was unaware of the existence of a recording of the PDP corrupting its men.
In the leaked telephone conversation, a top government official in Rivers State was heard mapping out plans on how to win the last Saturday’s election, which was rescheduled.
INEC officials were said to have been settled to pave the way for the ruling party in the state.
Besides, names of the officials were mentioned in the conversation, which include officials from neighbouring states.
The government official could also be heard issuing out warning to kill any INEC officials who fails to cooperate after collecting money from the government.
However, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, said the commission was yet to see the purported recording.
Okoye, who was responding to inquiry by The Nation, said: “I have not seen the recording you are alluding to.”
Also reacting, the PDP said the opposition party lacked the financial wherewithal to deploy such cash.
Its spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan: “We don’t have such funds anywhere, but we enjoy massive support and goodwill of a greater number of Nigerians. As an opposition party, where can we get that money.
“It was the same APC that mocked us a few weeks ago, saying that we were broke and that we could not fund our campaign. Now they have turned around to accuse us of spending such funds.
“Is it not strange that a ruling party is now portraying itself as the victim simply because they have been rejected by the people?
“Rather, it is the APC that has spent humongous amount on their campaign across the country and they are still spending. We have the figures and at the appropriate time we shall release them. For now, we are focused on the coming elections. So, we are very busy right now.”
* The Nation