A former deputy senate president, Ibrahim Mantu, has revealed why he confessed to rigging elections for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
During an interview on Channels Television, Mantu, a former member of the PDP’s Board of Trustees, said he was actively involved in compromising election officials, security officers and even agents of rival parties to either assist in rigging candidates of the PDP to victory or look the other way in cases of obvious rigging.
“Yes, yes, I did. But I am now confessing the truth. What do I mean? I didn’t have to go and change election but you provide money. You give money to INEC boys to help; that is, they see any chance they should try and favour you. You provide money for the security. All our elections in the past, I’ve been in the game for about 20 years.
“And I tell you each time it is not necessarily when I am contesting an election but when my party sponsors a candidate I would like that candidate to win the election. What we used to do before, we make provision for INEC, we make provision for security, we make provision for even agents of other parties so that they would not raise any objection to what we are able to get. Whether I rig myself or not, but when I provide those resources to the officials, I am rigging election.
“I believe so because if people are born again like me and refuse to do it. We the players, unless we give before somebody will take. Don’t give so you will not get a taker,” he said.
The interview has sparked outrage with people calling on the authorities to arrest and prosecute him for electoral fraud.
But Mantu explained during the same interview that he decided to confess to election rigging because he was tired of the negative perception Nigerians have abroad.
“You didn’t even ask me why am I thinking this way,?” he asked the interviewer.
“I am tired of being seen as a criminal on the street of the world because you are a Nigerian. You assume that everybody is an innocent human being until being proven otherwise but whilst you are outside this country with a green passport and they see that you are a Nigerian, even if you are a pastor or an imam they will assume that you are criminally minded or you have criminal tendencies just because of where you come from. That must change,” he said.
He said he confessed because he was tired of the abundance of poverty in the country while hoping his confession will result in good governance by the election of credible people, who would prudently manage the resources of the country and ensure equitable wealth for everyone, into public office.
Reacting to Mantu’s claim, the PDP described the allegation as personal to him adding that it has nothing to do with the party.
The party said Mantu acted in personal capacity for himself, adding that it has never asked him to rig elections on the party’s behalf.
It asked what happened to Mantu’s “rigging machinery” that caused him to lose his 2007 senatorial election.
“Senator Mantu’s reported claims was personal to him and has nothing to do with the PDP, as the party has never directed any of its members to rig election on its behalf, at any point since its formation,” PDP wrote on Twitter.
The party said it has never directed or had any pact with Mantu to rig election on its behalf. “Individuals run their elections on the platform of political parties once they emerge as candidates. In the PDP, candidates are issued with the party’s Code of Conduct containing the basic rules of electioneering engagements.”