Pay us our money or we’ll expose how you rigged March 28 elections – Compromised INEC ad hoc staffers threaten Rivers PDPWritten by Emma Owhondah
A tsunami of crisis is set to sweep through the Rivers State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over its failure to pay agents it used to allegedly rig the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Rivers State. Those engaged, who were either a remnant of the pool of the ad hoc staffers the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had employed and trained but got converted by PDP, or the party’s band of militias and supporters enlisted to join in alleged massive thumb-printing and other electoral malfeasances committed by the party to snatch victory, have threatened a showdown if PDP officials and their field commanders continued to keep back the cash promised them. With the polls over, some of them who have brought their plight to the attention of The Neighbourhood alleged that their employer – PDP – has refused to pay them what they were promised.
Narrating their circumstances to The Neighbourhood in Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers State, the used-but-dumped election riggers alleged that rather than pay them the money promised prior to the fraud, the involved PDP leaders have taken to singing a different song. “They promised us huge cash to be paid on the election day even though to some of us, we didn’t want to be involved in their plans, but now, they are telling us stories. We won’t take it lying low with them unless they paid us”, the PDP rigging partners threatened.
The complainants, whose spread spans across the genders, further narrated the locations of their unholy engagements. The Neighbourhood would not publish their names for security and safety concerns but their accounts collaborate allegations of massive rigging made by the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State.
One of the accusers whom The Neighbourhood simply identified as Sam narrated his plight.
“I was one of those who served as ad hoc staff for the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections. I was trained by INEC but a day to the elections, some PDP leaders in our area sent words to me inviting me to meet with them in the home of one of them(the cheated election rigger gave the name of the accused PDP chieftains but The Neighbourhood would not disclose their names at this point). They told me they wanted I and others who were to also serve as ad hoc staff to “co-operate” with them on the election day. When I asked them the type of “co-operation” they meant, they told me it was to join in thumb-printing on ballot papers on the election day.
“I was hesitant in agreeing with them but when I noticed they were becoming hostile, I accepted but not after they had promised to pay me N30,000. So, on that day(election day), we were all driven to a house along Onne/Trailer Park road(in Eleme) which belongs to a PDP candidate. They brought the ballot papers and directed all of us to join in thumb-printing. We joined until they felt satisfied. There was no voting. But rather than pay me, they are now telling me stories”.
The cheated INEC ad hoc staffers disclosed that the men have engaged in lines of denial and are passing the bulk. “They now refer us from one person to another. Personally, I doubt their promise to pay after the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections. They said they would pay after the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections which they have told us would follow same style. They boasted they would win the governorship in the same manner they used in winning the March 28 one. But for me and others, we need our money now”.
Further investigations by The Neighbourhood showed that not only did the PDP chiefs turn their collaborators into milk cows but used them to achieve their plot at minimum cost. However, while they paid some whose wages for the rigging ranged from N5,000 to N8,000, they pocketed those whose wages were higher. Payments, it was further gathered, depended on size of Polling Unit and designation of an ad hoc worker.