By Idowu Isamotu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday said the only way to stop vote-buying during governorship election in Bayelsa State is that, federal government should not release N7 billion VAT refund meant for the State now.
The APC, through its deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, said state government will squander the money on voter buying if it collects now.
The statement specifically urged the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, to delay approval of a N7 billion VAT refund to the Bayelsa state government until after the conduct of the November 16 governorship election in the state.
“There is a 7 billion Naira VAT refund to Bayelsa State awaiting the Minister of Finance approval. The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson has committed to a commercial Bank to give him the 7 billion with an agreement that the Ministry will in turn pay the money to them.” The Bayelsa-born APC chieftain disclosed.
The APC deputy spokesman stressed that if the money is released to the outgoing government in the state it will not serve the purpose it meant to achieve.
According to him, “The Minister is advised not to approve the VAT refund until after the governorship election. Governor Dickson has recently been in the news on account of several schemes to raise money through diversion of state funds to fund the election of his stooge and Bayelsa governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Coupled with Governor Dickson illegally withdrawing and diverting N17.5 billion from bank accounts belonging to the state government to prosecute the November 16 Bayelsa governorship election in the state, Bayelsans are still smarting from the exposed plan of Governor Dickson to sell off an oil field, Atala Marginal Field (OML 46) belonging to the state, months to the his handover.
“Governor Dickson must be stopped from achieving his selfish and desperate plan to buy votes using state funds and rig the election in favour of his unpopular candidate.”