FG cannot stop voters from trading votes for cash By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor.
The successful conduct of the Anambra State governorship election and the turnout of voters has diminished the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said.
Speaking in an interview, Mohammed also praised the neutrality of President Muhammadu Buhari in the conduct of the election even as he affirmed that the president cannot dissuade voters from trading their votes as was widely reported in Anambra State last weekend.
He spoke against the background of the reported call for a boycott of the governorship election by IPOB. “I think what that proved really is that IPOB does not represent the good people of Anambra or any state in the South East.
If truly they represented the people, the IPOB propaganda about the election really showed that they are not on ground”. “The people of Anambra have shown that there is no alternative to democracy and that they believe in one Nigeria and federal system of government. If there are issues to be resolved, let us resolve it.
But terrorism and separatism is not the answer”. “I think the Anambra election has sounded the death knell on IPOB because they said election will never hold.
The election has come and gone, the turnout was quite reasonable. Every party competed very competitively and at the end of the day, the people of Anambra have decided who is going to be their governor” he said.
Tasked on the increasing phenomenon of vote buying as widely reported in Anambra State, he said: “Frankly speaking, I didn’t follow the Anambra election, so, I cannot really talk about vote buying or ballot snatching.
What I know that I can speak on is that number one, the Muhammadu Buhari administration provided a level playing field for all and he showed that from the manner he restored the security aides of Governor Obiano”.
“If the people now decide to sell their votes, there is nothing the government at the centre can do but we will continue to drum it and let them understand that vote is the single most powerful weapon they have and once they sell it, they can’t come round again until the next four years to complain about the kind of leaders they have”.
“But what I believe is that for us in APC as a government, we want the people of Nigeria to decide the outcome of every elections. It is not about who is at the centre but we did not follow the temptation to use our muscle.
It was quite tempting because we don’t have any governor in the South East but we felt it is only fair for the people to decide their own fate.”