John Adams, Minna
There is uneasy calm in Niger State following directive by the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, to commissioners, asking them to immediately refund monies that were advanced to them to mobilise voters for last Saturday’s botched elections.
It was gathered that all commissioners and permanent secretaries were given an undisclosed amount of money ahead of last Saturday’s botched elections to enable them mobilise voters before it was postponed.
Although the commissioners and the permanent secretaries were said to have actually traveled to their respective constituencies for the election, and had expended the money for the purpose it was allocated, they were asked to go and retrieve the money since the election could not take place.
A source close to some of the commissioners told Daily Sun in Minna, yesterday, that they got a message from the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, on Monday, requesting them to return the money.
“We got message, yesterday, that we should return the money that was given to us to mobilise voters for the elections, and we told them we had already given out the money before we heard about the postponement.
“But, they said we should go and retrieve the money from the people. Nobody will be ready to refund such money, in fact, nobody will listen to you. This Saturday, the same voters will be expecting another money from us. They’ve even told us that the money had been spent,” the source said.
Daily Sun gathered that the commissioners were seen making frantic efforts and making contact with each other, yesterday, on the way forward since they claimed to have utilised the funds.
When contacted on this latest development, the Media and Publicly Coordinator to the Governor, Mr. Jide Orintunsin, said it is a usual norm all over the world for political appointees to be mobilised ahead of elections, to go to their various constituencies to ensure victory for their party.
Orintunsin insisted there was nothing new about asking political appointees to go and woo the electorates to ensure victory for the party, stressing that “what I don’t know is asking them to refund the money given to them if there was any.
“In the first place, I’m not aware of any money that was given to political appointees to go and woo the people, not to talk of refund. But, remember they are expected to go back on Saturday to mobilise their people to ensure victory for the party.”