Two leading presidential aspirants of the All Progressive Congress, APC – Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, have allegedly offered thousands of American dollar to secure the votes of delegates at the ongoing APC presidential primary at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
According to Peoples Gazette, at least five delegates from Adamawa and Ogun states in separate interviews on Tuesday disclosed that they were offered American banknotes to support Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The delegate provided information under anonymity to avoid being accused of anti-party conduct that could carry severe disciplinary measures.
Whereas Tinubu gave Ogun delegates $25,000 each to induce his acceptance as the party’s presidential flag-bearer tonight, Adamawa delegates said they received $10,000 each from Tinubu’s surrogates. The delegates have converted on Abuja starting last week ahead of the primary scheduled to be held June 6-8.
“Ashiwaju’s people came here and they said we should support him because he has the best chance to defeat Atiku Abubakar,” a delegate told The Gazette. “Then they said they didn’t come empty-handed.”
Delegates from Ogun confirmed getting $25,000 from the former Lagos governor. They, however, said they rejected $5,000 from Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s surrogates.
“The vice-president’s people initially said he didn’t have any money to give and advised everyone to vote their conscience,” a delegate said. “But suddenly they came back to say he wanted to give us $5,000 to support our transportation and hotel accommodation.”
The delegates admitted they rejected the money because it was smaller than what Tinubu, perhaps the biggest contender for the ticket, had already offered. The delegates shared pictures of the cash gift they said came from Tinubu, The Gazette reports.
At least one delegate claimed being shortchanged by Tinubu’s surrogates.
“I don’t know what happened but they only gave me $9,000,” the politician said. “I am working now to get the balance from the person they sent to us.”
The Gazette was unable to clarify how much other aspirants have offered delegates. At least five aspirants are believed to remain in the race amidst intense horse trading. Rotimi Amaechi, Kayode Fayemi, David Umahi, Tinubu and Osinbajo are said to be on a shortlist of governors. One of them may be announced later today as the favourite, although President Muhammadu Buhari has acquiesced to elective primary after weeks of doubling down on a consensus arrangement.
Spokespersons for Messrs Tinubu and Osinbajo campaign bodies did not return requests seeking comments.
The APC certified 2,322 delegates to vote at the primary, with 248 allotted to Ogun while Adamawa got 184.