The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, said on Monday that some members of the state House of Assembly, who recently defected to the Peoples Democratic Party from the All Progressives Congress, were given N50m each to sell their mandates.
The governor, who said this while addressing different groups of youths on peaceful protest to the State House in Benin, however, said his administration was unperturbed by “the defected lawmakers’ action.
Oshiomhole said that, in spite of the efforts of Edo people, who all went round to campaign for the legislators, they decided to sell their mandate for money
He described their action as sickening because they were “young men who should be anxious to break from the past.”
He said, “However, because they believed they do not have any chance of being re-elected in February next year, because they have either done two terms or because of their poor performance, they know their constituency will not re-nominate them. They now decided to benefit from the desperation in different parts of the country by selling their mandate for N50m each. They have collected advance payment of N35m.
“When I read this in the newspapers, initially, I didn’t believe. But going round, people tell me they are buying new vehicles, others are rebuilding their hotels. Suddenly money is flowing.
“Obviously, I think it is important that if democracy is going to survive, each promise must be kept because in the last election, I had to go and do a television advert when the PDP people said this election was not Oshiomhole’s election. Therefore vote for individual candidates, I went on television to say that a vote for these House of Assembly members was a vote for Adams Oshiomhole.
“I had to do that because Edo people were not going to accept some of these people and I had to remind them that if they do not vote for them they would create problems for me. Now the vultures have come and they are offering money and people are collecting money and making all kind of excuses.”
While stating that there was no cause for alarm, the governor explained that many of the people who defected from the APC could not win election on their own merit in their own polling unit.
“They were voted for as ACN with the broom. If you were vote for as ACN, with the broom, how can you now go and replace it with an umbrella that is torn and abandoned.
“People with little mind will think that they can sell their constituents with thirty-five million or fifty million depending on when they will get their balance and with time more truth will be revealed and when it is revealed a lot of these people will not be able to walk through the streets of Oredo and Ikpoba Okha.
“Those who voted some of them do not have a thousand naira but those they have voted for have chosen to sell it for a huge sum. As far as I am concerned, we are stronger. Edo politics will be cleaned up and the cleaning is already here”, he said.
Earlier, the spokesperson for the group, Emma Yamah, had explained that the youths were at Government House to demonstrate their support for the governor. He lamented that the four legislators, who had been suspended by the state legislature for misconduct, “rode on the governors back to get elected but now defect to the opposition party, to their disappointment.
Yamah assured that the youths would demand their mandates from the lawmakers because power belongs to the people and not a selected few.