The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, (Intersociety), has alleged that 20 state governors have squandered a humongous N50 billion on vote-buying in a bid to install their puppets as successors and lawmakers after being shaken by the “Obidient Tsunami” during the February 25 Presidential and national Assembly elections.
The frontline rights group made the allegation in a Special Report released in Onitsha, Anambra State Nigeria, on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
The report was jointly signed by Board Chair Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head, Democracy and Good Governance, Chinwe Umeche Esquire; and Head, Campaign and Publicity, Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire.
The group said It has; “observed after its investigation that no remorseful and corrigible lessons from Feb 25 polls have been learnt by Nigeria’s political actors particularly the Chairman of INEC and all the Commission’s serving National Commissioners, RECs and most of the 37 ad hoc State Collation Officers.
“Joined in this list are Governors and Governments of Anambra, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Enugu, Delta, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna, Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Kogi.
“Many, if not most of above named elective and appointive public office holders have been identified to have vicariously or directly or conspiratorially played ignoble roles in the brutal rigging of the Feb 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
“They also squandered billions of naira belonging to their States for purposes of coordinating voter suppression and conspiratorially involved in collation center result fixing; all in their desperate efforts to suppress the ‘Tsunamic Obidient ballot revolution’ in their States and beyond.”
Below is the Special Report:
“From fresh findings and facts at our disposal, panics, fears and desperations have gripped the camps of the named 20 Govs and their Governments for possibility of them losing gubernatorial incumbencies and majority in the State Assemblies; with imaginary impeachment threats.
“Fears by the named 20 State Govs and their Governments also stem from their desperation to install puppets and loyalist lawmakers in their State Assemblies who will be doing their biddings and covering their dirty dealings whenever called upon.
“Intersociety has therefore investigated and found that there is likelihood of N50b State funds to be wastefully spent by the 20 Govs for purposes of cash or material vote-buying, voter suppression and coercive and intimidating measures in this Saturday, March 18, 2023 Governorship and State Assembly Polls.
“The polls are also projected to be violence threatening with high possibility of votes of the electorates not going to be count. That is to say that not only that voter suppression and collation center result fixing that characterized the Feb 25 Presidential and National Assembly will be repeated in the March 18 Governorship and State Assembly Polls in the affected 20 States but the Polls are also most likely to witness violence and widespread cash or material vote-buying.
“Violence is likely to be witnessed in Enugu (dichotomy violence), Rivers (State sponsored violence), Delta, Ebonyi (Ebubeagu and thuggery violence), Abia, Benue (inter party and federally sponsored religious violence), Lagos (state actor sponsored group violence), Kaduna (State sponsored inter ethno-religious violence) and Anambra (State sponsored political thuggery violence), etc.
“Waste Of State Billions, Voter Suppression And Result Fixing Characterized Feb 25 Polls
“It was investigated and found after the brutally rigged Feb 25 polls that: (1) 10m living votes meant for popular presidential candidates were lost as a result of broad day voter suppression by INEC and Govs in most, if not all the 20 named States,
(2) 10m living votes also meant for popular presidential candidates were deleted or mangled at INEC LGA and State Collation Centers in most, if not all the affected 20 States,
(3) not less than 50% of conscientious voters with PVCs who came out to vote in the 20 States especially in the South-East, Rivers and Delta were stopped from voting by INEC or through violence or threat of same by the affected State Govs and their Governments,
(4) average of 40% in all of senatorial and house of reps candidates in the named Governors’ Parties, returned by INEC ought not to be returned because the votes allocated to them were not votes duly or rightly given to them by the electorate,
(5) in Ebonyi State, for instance, credible reports on the ground strongly indicated that the State’s three senatorial seats and five of the six house of reps seats were allocated by INEC in connivance with the State Government to loser candidates; so also in Abia where the REC was executively abducted and held in security custody and freed after one of his subordinates had been forced to announce some losers as ‘winners’.
“N50B State Public Funds To Be Squandered By 20 States
“From our findings, not less than N50b belonging to taxpayers of the above named 20 States are most likely to be wasted or squandered, out of which each of the 20 States is projected to engage in at least N2b wasteful spending. Anambra State is projected with N2b-N2.5b lavish spending while the three higher spending States are Lagos (projected with N10b spending), Rivers (projected with N6b-N10b spending) and Delta (projected with N5b-N6b spending).
“Each of the remaining 16 States is most likely to wastefully spend at least N2b. The beneficiaries of the wasteful States’ spending sprees include traditional rulers and chairs of town unions, religious leaders and market and transportation leaders (where necessary). These recipients will be captured under “mobilization of voters’ logistics”.
“Other key beneficiaries are State Assembly candidates of the Govs’ political parties (cash or material vote-buying and logistics supports), “elected” or appointed Local Government Transition Committee Chairmen or Chairpersons (for ‘INEC LGA admin heads and SPOs, POs and APOs’ and cash or material vote-buying supports’). Also in the involved are collectively and individually compromised security agents especially police and military personnel as well as conformist INEC’s substantive and ad hoc top officials such as conformist National Commissioners, RECs and Collation Officers in Charge.
“Anambra As A Case Study
“As at Thursday, 9th and Friday, 10th March 2023, over N1.2b was reported to have been lavishly spent and disbursed from the State coffers and according to reliable information obtained, the whopping State funds were disbursed to “each of the 30 State ruling Party’s House of Assembly Candidates who received N20m, totaling N600m (for logistics supports such as cash sums for cash vote-buying or procurement of food or personal items like cartons of Indomie, wrappers (abada clothes), small bags of rice, packs of tin tomatoes, tins of red and groundnut oils, etc, for material vote-buying).
“Each of the 21 Local Government Caretaker Committee Chairmen also reportedly received N30m, totaling N630m (for ‘mobilization supports’ including for sorting electoral officers such as SPOs, POs and APOs and INEC LGA admin officers). The LGAs Caretakers were also reportedly directed to use part of the N30m for electronic money transfer vote-buying using the likes of OPay mobile banking, etc, for speedy and comfort deliveries.
“Others reported to have been listed to benefit from the second batch of the State funds (yet to be released and disbursed as at Wednesday, 15th March 2023) are conformist security operatives (police, army and navy personnel), traditional rulers/PGs and some influential market leaders and INEC top officials. The second batch, expected in multiple hundreds of millions of naira, is likely to hit the ground before end of Friday, 17th March 2023.
“In all, Anambra State Government is expected to wastefully spend from the State coffers N2.5b between 9th and 19th March 2023 for purposes of pre Election Day, Election Day and post Election Day Project of securing many, if not most of the 30 State Assembly seats by all means legitimately and illegitimately possible or achievable.
“ICPC, EFCC And Other Ant Graft Bodies Should Place The 20 States Under Their Watch-List
“We call on the above named anti graft agencies to place the named 20 States under their watch-list and dispassionately do that justly required of them by law. The security agencies must resist being compromised and pocketed by the panicking and desperate Govs. The violence prone flashpoints highlighted in this statement must be nipped in the bud with adequate and proactive security arrangements.
“The Osun State-born “troublesome Lagosians” must be strongly warned to leave Eastern residents in Lagos State alone and allow them to cast their votes and vote candidates of their choice freely and willingly.”