The Governorship/State Assembly poll in Niger State has been marred by massive and outright buying of votes by some party officials.
In most of the polling units visited in Chachanga, Paikoro, Gurura, Suleja and Tafa, it was observed the vote buying was not hidden from people as most of the voters hang around for the highest bidder.
The Nation observed in one of the polling units in Maje, Suleja that women were given N500 each to vote while some youths refused to accept N250, claiming to have been told to collect N1000.
“We will take our vote and leave. What is N250? Let us go,” one of the youths, who seem to be the gang leader told the others.
In Gawu Babangida in Gurara local government area, the Nation observed vote buying as various groups were gathered in different corners with some of them pocketing the money they have collected.
At Hakimi polling unit in Paikoro local government area, one of the voters who identified himself as Haruna, alleged coercion to vote for a particular party.
“They came to our houses last night to coerce us to vote them. What most people are doing here is to collect their money and vote for another party,” he stated.
A PDP chieftain in Suleja who complained of the outright vote buying however expressed optimism of PDP victory.
“Even with vote buying, we will have a reasonable vote. We are optimistic.
“It is very sad that this vote buying is being done outrightly and not been hidden and because of the hunger in the land, the people come out to collect the money and cast their vote,” he stated.
In what seem to be a confirmation of the vote buying across the state, Speaker Ahmed Marafa raised the alarm over increased money politics and the need to discourage the menace if credible candidates must emerge at polls.
He condemned the situation whereby voters would be at polling units hanging around for the highest bidder before casting their votes.