Barely 48 hours to the bye-elections in Lagos, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its counterpart, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have begun to trade words over alleged plans to engage in vote-buying and disrupt the voting process scheduled for next Saturday, December 5 in the state.
While the APC argued that the opposition party has engaged the services of hoodlums to disrupt voting processes at wards that were considered its strongholds, the PDP alleged that the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has handed to the APC funds for vote-buying and to hire hoodlums that could disrupt the exercise.
Both political parties, through the statements released separately and made available to The Guild on Thursday, distanced their members from the allegations raised, even as they claimed that the electorate response during campaigns further showed acceptability of their candidates.
The APC, in the statement titled: ‘APC uncovers plans to disrupt polls’, alleged that the PDP had concluded plans to woo electorate with N5,000 and disrupt the exercise in locations considered as weak zones.
Speaking on behalf of the party, Seye Oladejo, the Lagos APC Spokesman, appealed to the law enforcement agencies to prevent a breakdown of laws and orders during the voting process.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to certain developments that are capable of disrupting the by-elections for Lagos East Senatorial district and the Lagos State House of Assembly for Kosofe 2 slated for this Saturday.
“The members of APC in the areas where the elections will be conducted have observed the unusual mobilization of hoodlums and miscreants from within and outside the state to disrupt the electoral process in polling areas where the PDP will likely return poor results.
“Similarly, arrangements have been concluded to buy votes which negate the provision of the electoral laws. Our intelligence revealed the conclusion to pay the sum of N5,000 per vote to undermine the process.
“Therefore, we are calling on the security agents to be vigilant to arrest any situation that is capable of disrupting the electoral process and INEC to remain impartial and deliver on their responsibility to the nation. Our members and supporters are hereby enjoined to protect their votes in the best interest of our nascent democracy”.
Responding, the PDP, in a statement signed by its publicity secretary, Taofik Gani, described the APC outburst as a clear case of a party that had lost hopes of winning the election.
The party added that it was unbelievable that the APC could raise allegations against the party of planning to buy votes with N5, 000.
According to the PDP, all votes will be voluntarily given to PDP to reflect the disenchantment with the APC candidates who have displayed highest level of desperations to contest in areas they do not qualify to so contest.
“The PDP opines that the APC may have also verified the results of the polls released 3 days ago which favour the PDP candidates and thus resorted to blackmail and early exhibition of bad sportsmanship.
“On the contrary, we have it on good authority that the APC candidates have sought more funds from the governor to buy votes to win the Saturday bye-elections but such request rebuffed by the governor for fear of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“We are aware that APC thugs all over the state are now being joined by other thugs from an APC state in the North Central whose governor is close to the APC Senatorial candidate.
“Similarly, we are aware that the Ogun state APC has members already lodged in Lagos State to unleash terror during the votings. We hope that the Lagos State governor will remain neutral and not deploy any state resources to support the APC candidates. We continue to keep watch.”
The PDP has thus encouraged voters to turn out and vote their choices whilst charging the relevant agencies to apprehend any person involved in election malfeasance.