By G9ija

Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of intensifying efforts to buy votes in the Saturday, September 19, 2020 gubernatorial election.

State Publicity Secretary, Chris Osa Nehikhare, who spoke on behalf of the state PDP Campaign Council, said, “Our attention has been drawn to a video that has been trending on social media platforms, in which APC members were sighted distributing clothes and money to Edo women in exchange for their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

“We are concerned that after stakeholders committed to a free, fair and credible poll in the electioneering process, the APC could still embark on schemes aimed at derailing the process through votes buying.

“On Tuesday, we alerted members of the public to a similar vote buying scheme by the APC with an emergency Federal Government empowerment programme, aimed at obtaining PVCs from voters ahead of the election.

“We noted that the scheme was contrived and packaged as a pet project of the wife of APC candidate, Professor Idia Ize-Iyamu and implemented through the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“We wish to state that any such scheme aimed at sharing money to voters at this time, amounts to votes buying and we urge the international community to sanction the government officials behind the schemes designed to induce Edo voters, contrary to provisions of the Electoral Act.”

But Chairman of APC Media Campaign Council, John Mayaki, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for identifying with the state through Federal Government’s empowerment programme for 2,000 women in the state, insisting that the initiative has no political undertones.

Mayaki said, “We appreciate President Buhari for the effort. We thank the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) for the timely intervention and for recognising Edo women.

“Our women have suffered so much and needed help. It took NGOs constant appeals to the Federal and state government. When they learnt that Federal Government would help, they quickly arranged their own shoddy palliative.  

“If we had a functional state government, this won’t be necessary. Everything we said we will do is in the SIMPLE Agenda and so the empowerment programme has no political coloration.” He argued that if the Federal Government budgeted for the people, they should not be denied the privileges because of election, adding,

“And so, let’s not read political meanings to the gesture, else one would be tempted to ask the same question about Governor Godwin Obaseki, who promised Ekiosa Market women N100m last year after fire razed their wares, only to announce N10,000 each for the victims last week.”