As the residents of Ekiti state go to the polls today to elect their governor out of the 35 governorship candidates, the two leading political parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, were yesterday engaged in a battle of the survival of the fittest as both parties showered prospective voters with cash.
Prospective voters were moving in their numbers yesterday to collection points set up by the PDP and the APC to collect cash in lieu of their votes today in the Ekiti election. The PDP was dispensing its cash to voters from the Government House, Ado Ekiti while the APC set up its own money base in a plush hotel along University Road (name withheld) from where party agents collected money for onward distribution to sub-distribution centres across the state. The governor of a nearby APC controlled state has been encamped in the hotel in the last few days Saturday Vanguard gathered. At the Government House, voters excluding civil servants and pensioners were collecting cash ranging from N4,000 to N5,000 after proving their identities with their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs which will be used for the Ekiti election. A voter in Ward 11, Ado Local government Area who spoke but pleaded for anonymity, confirmed he had received what he called his ‘election money’ for the Ekiti election. His words: “ As you can see me here, we were called to come with our voters card to collect money in the Government House. You will show them your voters card and you will be given 4k or 5k , it depends.” There was no available reason for the variation in the sums being given. Civil servants and pensioners it was gathered were also getting their own money through the banks with some confirming receiving alerts. A civil servant who spoke said she received the credit alert last night on her mobile phone. “Yes, I saw the alert last night and even some of my colleagues have called me that they too saw the alert. Very sad that we are yet to receive our salary but government can give money for the Ekiti election.” A pensioner, who did not want his name mentioned said his wife in the United Kingdom (UK) called him to confirm that he received the credit alert. His words:” What I think the government did was to get the data of all pensioners in Ekiti and send them money because my wife called me from UK to say that she received credit alert of N7,000. “This morning, I got my alert too of the election money for the Ekiti election.” The APC on its part was also distributing cash through authorised agents who visited the hotel to collect to distribute to voters at different centres across the state. Trusted party leaders were being used by the APC for their own venture. A voter in the state confirmed being invited to receive his own money in the house of a former ranking official of the state government yesterday evening. Besides cash, the APC was also distributing rice to voters according to polling units Saturday Vanguard gathered last night. Yesterday’s dispense of cash was totally different from past experiences of politicians trading cash for votes after voters would have shown evidence of having voted in favour of the party. It could not be confirmed last night if the parties still intend to give out cash today after the voting. Meanwhile, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State were last night believed to be embedded in the state to give support to their respective parties.