July 13, 2024

2023: Emmanuel planning to pay polling agents over N91bn monthly stipends, YPP alleges

2023: Emmanuel planning to pay polling agents over N91bn monthly stipends, YPP alleges

Akpan Umoh, Uyo

The Young Progressives Party (YPP) in Akwa Ibom has alleged a plan by Gov. Udom Emmanuel to pay over N91 billion as monthly stipends to polling agents of the People Democratic Party (PDP) in four months.

The party said about 70 persons have already been recruited in each polling unit across the 31 Local Government Areas of the State on a monthly stipend of N100, 000 

The State Chairman of YPP, Dr Nyeneime Andy, revealed this during a press briefing, Sunday in Uyo, queried why tax prayers’ money should be spent with reckless abandon.

Andy said that the cost implication is gotten when multiplying the monthly stipends by 4,354 polling units between January and March this year.

He said that the governor has spent over one billion naira in the purchase of 31 Hiace Buses to State PDP for Mr Umo Eno’s Campaigns.

He alleged that free, fair, and credible elections in the state were under serious threat because the governor was bent on foisting his “stoop” against the popular will of the people.

The YPP chairman queried why Eno when being the Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources received bulletproof cars and SUVs from contractors through the state government, still working freely without being prosecuted.

“Let us put this side by side with the recent court case involving Sen. Bassey Albert Akpan with the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). 

“Wasn’t he charged for receiving unsolicited car gifts, even after leaving office as Commissioner for Finance, in aid of his gubernatorial campaigns in 2015?

“If OBA attracted a lawsuit for receiving Cars after leaving office, what about Umo Eno who received them while in office? What is the difference now? Can’t we see therefore that OBA’s case was politically motivated?

“Another disturbing issue is the state government’s interference in the processes towards the 2023 elections. 

“We say so because we have received credible intelligence that Gov. Udom Emmanuel–led administration through agents of the state and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have engaged in buying of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) from unsuspecting members of the public across the 31 Local Government Areas,” Andy said.

Andy said that the opening connivance of Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials with the state PDP was suspicious and worrisome, and may dent the image of the commission’s integrity.

“We are also reliably informed that state government’s ICT experts hobnob with some officials of the State INEC at Monty Suits at Nsikak Eduok Way owned by the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr Monday Uko and Signature By Royalty Hotels, Ewet Housing Estate, Uyo, owned by the PDP’s Gubernatorial Candidate, Mr Umo Eno.

“The renewed hope of Nigerians is on the constant assurances given by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu that the forthcoming elections will be free and fair and that with the services of Bimodal Voter Registration Systems (BVAS), there will be no manipulation.

“While we may not want to doubt his assurances, the ongoing development of open connivance of some officials of INEC with agents of the Akwa Ibom State government has given us cause to be suspicious. 

“Why is the state government through its agents procuring PVCs and Vin Numbers? What is the partnership between the government’s ICT agents and some INEC’s ICT staffers in the hotels of PDP’s gubernatorial candidate and party chieftain?” he queried.

Reacting to the allegations, the PDP Publicity Secretary in Akwa Ibom, Mr Borono Bassey, debunked all the allegations.

Bassey said the claim that Gov. Udom Emmanuel-led administration has procured and donated Campaign buses to the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom State was outrightly false and a poor attempt at mischief-making.

“As it is common knowledge that such vehicles are always procured with resources from dues and goodwill donations by party members and allied organisations.

“This of course explains why these vehicles usually come late as it takes time to pull these resources together. 

“We hereby challenge the State Chairman of YPP to show proof that Governor Udom Emmanuel had purchased and donated these vehicles to the Public.

“Again, another lie peddled by the State Chairman of YPP at the Press Conference to the effect that the Akwa Ibom State Government was planning to pay 70 polling agents in each polling unit across the State falls flat on its face.

“Given the fact that Governor Udom Emmanuel clearly understands that there is an anti-graft agency that can spot and prosecute him for misappropriation of state resources if he attempts to engage in such an act. 

“For a gentleman who values his pristine reputation, it is utterly preposterous for those who traffic in this outrageous lie to think in this direction,” Bassey said.

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