Political history of a sort may have been made in Nigeria with the conviction of a councillor in Gombe State by a high court for vote buying.
But tomorrow may be, just may be, for the fat cats suspected to have doled out huge sums for buying votes in the last elections. Or the forthcoming ones.
It was also a first for the Economicand Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) WHICH Caught and prosecuted Ishiyaku Garba. In a statement by its spokesman, Tony Orilade, the commission said the Gombe Zonal Office on Thursday secured the conviction of Garba, Councillor of Bolari East, Gombe, who was arraigned before Justice Sa’ad Moh’d of a State High Court on a three-count charge bordering bribery.
Acting on intelligence report, the EFCC had arrested him at Bolari Polling Unit 0077 in Gombe State during the last concluded Presidential and National Assembly Elections, where he was sighted sharing money.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Ishiyaku Garba and Joel Jagaba (still at large) on or about 23rd of March, 2019 at Bolari, Gombe State on the date slated for Presidential and National Assembly Election at Bolari Polling Unit 0077, Gombe State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did agree among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: caused money to be expended for Election Bribery and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 124 (5) of Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and punishable under Section 124 (1) (c) of the same Act.”
He pleaded “guilty” to the charges.
Prosecuting counsel, S.E. Okemini, then called a witness, Hillary Obetta for review of facts and to also tender evidence against him admitted as Exhibits 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Defence counsel, S.A. Mustapha, however, pleaded for leniency.
The trial judge, thereafter, convicted him on the three counts and sentenced him to one month in prison with an option of N100,000 as fine for count one; one month in prison on count two, with an option of N50,000 as fine; one month in prison on count three, with an option of N20,000 as fine. The prison terms are to run consecutively.
The court further ordered that the sum of N295,000 recovered from him should be forfeited to the Federal Government.