Vote buying: Party turns to bank transfers amid cash crunch

Amid scarcity of naira notes, Nigeria’s ruling political party – the All Progressives Congress (APC) – is not resting on its oars to induce the impoverished electorates financially to vote their candidates in the forthcoming general election amid the controversial naira swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Amid expectation that the current cash crunch would suffice in stifling vote buying, an APC youth leader in one of Nigeria’s southeastern states told BusinessDay that his party has since collated their members account and PVCs details as well as that of their followers and new converts for onward financial gratification during the election.

This, he said, is more pronounced in the rural areas where the ruling party agents are asked to leverage transfers to pacify the electorates due to scarcity of naira notes.

Just recently, Fisayo Soyombo, a Nigerian investigative journalist and founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) tweeted, “He told @FIJNigeria he noticed on the portal that N10,000 was deposited in his wallet. He withdrew the sum and was surprised to receive a credit notification from his bank. CONFIRMED: APC is crediting voters with N10,000 online in exchange for their data”.

“This information is true. A neighbour told me about how people are exchanging their PVC for N10,000,” Adefemi Grant, one of his followers on Twitter also tweeted on February 10.

Another of his followers, Bazooka Academy, an educationist/writer also tweeted on February 10, “At Iyana Iba today on Lagos, an old man actually was telling an estate agent that he received a credit alert of 10k from APC. I thought he was lying”.

Read also: Shekarau predicts Atiku’s victory in Saturday’s presidential poll

“These people are innovative in crime and corruption but can’t deploy same innovation into building the nation,” said OD-SIT, another of Soyombo’s Twitter followers.

Commenting on this development, Victor Kanu, a financial analyst in Lagos said “There is no significant implication. It won’t work because they can’t reach the number of people they would like to reach. Also, the CBN plans can minimise the rate of vote buying but can’t totally eradicate it. Did you not see that APC shared old notes yesterday,” he noted.

A consultant who didn’t want her name in print said “It is not a new tactic”.

“The naira redesign has more than meets the eye. The bigwigs or their proxies have the CBN, banks (all kinds), and even where it is printed under their control. They can’t be cash trapped. The target is the poor, impoverish them further to the point they have no choice but to do what you want. I’m talking about the poor not the uncomfortable,” she said.

The outcome of Saturday’s election is the most significant determinant of Nigeria’s pathway over the short-to-medium term.

“The most daunting task for Nigeria’s next President will be to pull the world’s poverty capital from the brink. Nigerians today contend with multidimensional poverty, insecurity, crippling inflation, and power shortages, among other constraints,” according to Lagos-based United Capital research analysts in their February 22 note.

The analysts noted that the primary matters in the electorate’s consciousness ahead of Saturday’s election should be to have a new President that must also fast-track industrialisation and diversification, improve investment-to-GDP, grapple with underperforming sectors and deliver a more competitive currency, and actual reform implementation.

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