Payments are being handed out to supporters for attending political rallies, it has been reported.
Best Uso, in Erema (Bayelsa State), reports that “on the 2nd of December, some money was shared when the PDP’s governorship aspirant came to Erema for his campaign. Nyison Wike, the aspirant governor, gave 500 Naira (£1.70) to each person that was present.”
Robert Nitabai Desmond chooses to abstain from rallies to avoid being swung by handouts. “I can’t let my conscience be bought by our failed politicians and that is why I don’t attend their rallies.” “The actual thing” – he adds – “is that I don’t attend rallies of political parties because they all failed the electorate with their cheap money, but those who feel they need these money always attend because they don’t have food to eat.”
“This trend has become the political culture in my nation.”
According to Okonta Emeka, based in the Delta State, “500 Naira is the least any political association can hand out to people who support their rally. For most political groups, the money is for the people to use for buying soap to wash their clothes after the rally, buy light refreshments while the rally continues. The same goes for all major parties in the nation. This trend has become the political culture in my nation.”
A more concerning trend in Nigerian elections is vote buying. “I witnessed it yesterday”, said Damasus Henry in Oshimili. “Delegates were recorded vote buying in party primaries.” Similar claims were made by Glaad Amadi with regards to previous elections. “On the day of voting people were being paid 200, 1500, 2500 Naira to vote. This is what I witnessed,” Amadi added.
“This is not the right way of doing politics.”
Okonta Emeka explains that “no conscious Nigerian is unaware of this trend. Though this is not the right way of doing politics, all political parties are all becoming capital intensive. There is evidence of some known small political parties effectively competing and winning political seats in Nigeria, the magic has always being those parties fielding progressive and clean aspirants, those who the people admire and believe in.”