Concerns As Senate President, Speaker Aspirants Offer $1million Per Vote

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Two candidates who seek to hold the third and fourth-highest offices in Nigeria are rumoured to be planning to bribe their fellow lawmakers with as much as $1 million each to get elected, officials have said.

Governors elected on the platform of Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), stated this ‘rumour’ in a memo to the country’s newly elected president, Bola Tinubu.

The governors under the aegis of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) said they were aware of ‘rumours’ that two lawmakers, one aspiring for Senate President and another for Speaker of the House of Representatives, have expressed willingness to offer between $500,000 and $1 million per lawmaker in exchange for votes.

Although they did not name the two candidates allegedly involved in the bribery scheme, they suggested the two candidates are members of the APC.

“Indeed, it is being rumoured that one aspirant for the Senate Presidency and another for Speakership are willing to offer as much as $500,000 to $1 million per vote. Opposition party members of the National Assembly are being courted with the likelihood of the 2015 situation presenting itself if care is not taken.

PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported that PGF had in a memo called for the intervention of Mr Tinubu on the zoning of the principal offices of the federal parliament. The governors recommended a zoning formula for the offices.

According to the memo which is the outcome of a meeting held on 8 April, the governors warned Mr Tinubu that the “over-investment” by the aspirants may make zoning impossible if action is not taken quickly.

The governors noted that aspirants are offering newly elected lawmakers thousands of dollars for support, and some are willing to take the offer to a million dollars per vote.

“It is imperative that the President-Elect and the Party wade into this situation and announce an acceptable zoning formula as soon as possible. This is necessary to prevent over-investment by candidates, which leads to acrimony and bitterness. New Senators-elect and members-elect are being offered thousands of dollars.

“Indeed, it is being rumoured that one aspirant for the Senate Presidency and another for Speakership are willing to offer as much as $500,000 to $1 million per vote. Opposition party members of the National Assembly are being courted with the likelihood of the 2015 situation presenting itself if care is not taken,” the memo reads in part.

Composition of National Assembly

The ruling APC had after the 25 February election, emerged as the party with the majority in the 109-member Senate with its 57 elected senators.

However, it has yet to form a comfortable majority in the 360-member House of Representatives as it currently has about 162 members-elect.

Seven other parties with membership in the 10th session of the House have about 163 members-elect.

The numbers are expected to increase after the supplementary elections held across the country on Saturday. The elections were held in 31 federal constituencies and five senatorial districts.

Both chambers of the National Assembly will be inaugurated in June during which the presiding officers will be elected.

History of vote buying in Nigeria

Nigeria’s electoral process has been marred by vote buying as politicians offer money to voters in exchange for votes.

Party primaries in Nigeria are also marred by allegations of vote buying, particularly if only delegates are allowed to vote in such primaries.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how a Peoples Democratic Party delegate, Tanko Sabo, gave millions of Naira to some people in his local government after serving as a delegate at the primaries.

Mr Sabo told reporters in Kaduna that he made so much money because he was a delegate to the state assembly, National Assembly, governorship and presidential primaries of his party.

A former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, last year, also alleged that aspirants at the APC presidential primary in June 2022 offered money to delegates.


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