By Olayemi Oke
From the outcome of police investigations into the criminal activities of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in the March 18 governorship election in Ogun State, Hon Oladipupo Adebutu, and as widely reported in the media, it can be concluded without any fear of contradiction that he wanted to reap manifold blessings from outright fraud. He wanted to reap where he did not sow.
Going by the ongoing revelations from different security agencies, Hon. Adebutu distributed over 200,000 Verve ATM cards to buy votes across Ogun State during the governorship election of March 18. However, the bubble burst when many of his agents were arrested by security agents, with PoS operators also testifying that they (agents) came to them to withdraw money with the cards preloaded with N10,000 each. That being the case, the number of votes Adebutu legitimately earned during the said election is contestable.
For him to have procured over 200,00 ATM cards, it means he wanted to have unfair advantage by having over 200,000 induced voters. It has been established that illegal, toxic votes amounting to this very figure are among his electoral haul. If the illegal, toxic and contrived votes are deducted from his electoral haul, what is left and legitimate is just under 62,000 votes. The rest were fraudulently procured and remain unlawful.
It is high time the Independent Natıonal Electoral Commission, INEC, and the security agencies sanitized our political process by ensuring that such characters as Adebutu do not pollute our political process.
Apart from the Verve cards, Adebutu allegedly distributed money across the wards and polling units in order to corrupt the electoral process. Because his father is rich, he believes he can buy up Ogun State. Such people, if they ever manage to get to power, will be just like caterpillar and cankerworm: they will wreck the state.
I must sincerely state that the damning accusations and the means of commiting the crime greatly beat the imagination of many around the world. How could someone in this century be so aggressively desperate for power! I was taken aback when I read the Premium Times reports on these allegations, and the most unfortunate aspect of the shenanigans was the role played by a commercial bank like Zenith Bank in the saga, despite its years of operations in the banking industry.
There is no way Zenith Bank could claim that it didn’t know that the original motive behind the request for 200,000 preloaded cards two days to an election in which its customer had interest was to bribe the electorate and flagrantly manipulate the electoral outcome in his favour. In fact, by this development, Adebutu, his PDP comrades and Zenith Bank have taken Nigeria’s democracy back to the stone age.
Looking at Adebutu closely, he doesn’t strike one as a serious personality with the requisite mental direction for governance; the basic fact about his person is that he is a desperate man in politics with little or no guiding ideology and political orientation as a compass for good governance.
Ogun State is known for setting the pace in all human endeavours and as a sophisticated people with a great culture, but Adebutu went so low to disgrace the state in the most odious manner. It is my belief that the good people of Ogun State must have known by now that their interests can never be protected by such a fraudster. Rather, those bunch of political bandits are out to milk the state and its people dry to satisfy their selfish and parochial interests. They should be banned from the political process and sentenced to long jail terms for their violation of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
•Oke is a broadcast journalist in Abeokuta, Ogun State and can be reached via: