The Anambra State governorship (s)election last month that saw incumbent Willie Obiano win in all the 21 local government areas was one in which the winner surprisingly wasn’t the highest bidder. Some party activists have revealed to Naijiant.com how the (s)election was won and lost with each party trying to outbid the other in cash inducements for voters.
Governor Obiano’s All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), according to the activists who were recruited to distribute cash to voters, was paying 2,000 naira ($5.56) per vote. The All Progressives Congress (APC) fronted by their candidate Tony Nwoye, were offering the highest amount of 4,500 naira ($12.51) per vote, and if the voter was playing hard to get, they got 5,000 naira ($13.90). The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with former governor Peter Obi backing candidate Oseloka Obaze, came second in the bidding stakes with 3,000 naira ($8.30) per vote.
The activists were unanimous in claiming that voters told them that they took money from all three parties and voted for Obiano. One voter confirmed this saying, “you need to be a useless goat to not win” as an APGA candidate. APGA with its history of being the party of the late Emeka Ojukwu, who led the failed attempt by the Republic of Biafra to secede from Nigeria, is seen by many Anambra voters as “their party”. Ojukwu came from Nnewi in Anambra State.
Some voters told Naijiant.com that they swore oaths in the name of the local “alusi” (shrine) that they would vote for APC, but still voted APGA. When questioned how they could do this without fear of repercussion, they said they were “insured” against the vengeance of the gods because they each gave about 1,000 naira ($2.70) to their pastors to ensure they were “covered by the blood of Jesus”.
Our reporter was curious why the opposition were outspending the incumbent in wooing voters. Some of the guys who were responsible for sharing the money said this was most likely because after billions of naira were set aside for buying votes, the guys at the top would have creamed off some for themselves before the money trickled down to the party agents at the various wards.
One man who took money from the APC and still voted APGA was scared that the former could end up with no votes in his ward. He was relieved when the results showed the APC got four votes in his ward. This meant that he could claim he was one of the four that voted APC.
Naijiant.com spoke to party activists that spent voting day from ward to ward in several local government areas distributing money for the three parties. The activists claimed that none of the other parties were even in the running either in sharing money or in the voting.
Obiano won in a landslide with Nwoye coming a distant second, but exceeding expectations by buying more votes than the PDP candidate Obaze.
The separatist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had called on voters to boycott the (s)election. But this must have not gone down well with voters looking to take money from each party and make about 9,500 naira ($26.40) on polling day.