By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the ruling APC of corrupting the nation’s electoral process through their devious love for massive vote buying.
Frank, in a statement in Abuja, said the Senate and House of Representatives bye-elections held in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi States respectively at the weekend, have further exposed the desperation of the APC to win local, regional, state and national elections at all cost.
He stated that the ‘vote buying policy’ now adopted by the Buhari-led administration will further weaken the base of the nation’s democratic enterprise and return the country to its inglorious past where outright manipulation of the electoral process to confer undue advantage on the ruling party held sway.
Frank said: “It is a pity that after increasing hunger and poverty in the country through clueless and inept governance in the last three years, the leadership of the APC has now adopted vote buying as a policy geared towards securing fraudulent votes at elections.
“They did it in Ekiti State. Now they have extended their electoral fraud to Katsina, Bauchi and Kogi States. The APC’s electoral corruption which was first publicly applied by the party in Ekiti State, is now on a roller coaster ride across the country.
“Already, this is what they plan to do at the National Assembly where they have increased their budget to induce individual Senators and House of Representatives members from $500,000 to $1million (N352million @CBN rate of N352 to a Dollar) to remove the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and Speaker Yakubu Dogara – who they fear may defect from the APC any time soon.
“Corruption is not only about stealing or misappropriating finances as vote buying will not only destroy the integrity of elections in the country, it will bring about people of questionable characters into positions of authority.
“I dare say that compromising an election by deploying huge state resources to buy votes as currently being championed and promoted by the APC is the worst form of corruption that can plague any country.
“One can wager that this evil and wicked policy which was test-runned in Ekiti and freely used in Bauchi, Katsina and Kogi at the weekend with ‘appreciable success’ would be massively deployed to rig the forthcoming general elections in 2019 by the APC.
“With the fraudulent successes the party has recorded in the five states aforementioned, little wonder that the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, has not stopped boasting that he will remove Saraki as President of the Senate soon.”
He warned that the 2019 elections is at grave risk of being totally hijacked in favour of Buhari and the APC, if nothing is done by patriotic Nigerians and the nation’s allies in the international community to stop the rising anti-democratic trend being orchestrated by the APC to compromise the nation’s electoral processes for their selfish gain.
“The APC is in power today as a result of free, fair and credible elections conducted by the immediate past administration. Now that they are in the saddle, they have jettisoned free, fair and credible elections as a way of fraudulently perpetuating the APC in power. This money politics must be checked urgently if our democracy is to survive beyond 2019,” Frank warned.