Senator Smart Adeyemi, who represents Kogi West in the National Assembly, has volunteered to fund the hajj pilgrimage of five individuals to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, in exchange for the return of the cash he distributed to delegates during the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial primaries.
In the primary election, Adeyemi received 43 votes, which placed him in a distant third place.
Sunday Karimi won the party’s nomination with 288 votes, followed by Muyiwa Aina with 73 votes.
Party delegates at all levels amassed millions of Naira from hopefuls who wished to woo them.
Adeyemi, speaking to media in the National Assembly in Abuja about the results of the primary conducted on 28 May 2022, characterised the election as a blatant violation of democracy, a daylight robbery, and a highly controlled process.
The congressman stated that he participated in the primary against the advise of the state’s APC chairman, Abdullahi Bello, who, he claimed, urged him to drop aside and work exclusively for the presidential campaign of Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello.
He stated that a closed-door meeting convened by the state party chairman at the request of the governor to persuade him to withdraw from the race was inconclusive due to his insistence on continuing.
Except for a negligible minority, according to Adeyemi, delegates were compelled into voting against their preferences.
He reported that five of the delegates from the Koton Karfe local government region returned the money he provided for “transportation, lodging, and food” after voting against him.
The legislators reported that he was struck by their candour and requested them to return the money in exchange for a commitment to support their hajj journey to Makkah in 2023.
He stated, “Generally, we provide delegations with supplemental funds for their travel, food, and lodging. But do not inquire how much.
“Delegates from a particular local government, which is predominantly populated by Muslims, were not permitted to vote for me because the returning officer, who is from that local government and is also a Muslim, asked them to vote for Sunday Karimi, who is from a federal constituency adjacent to mine.
“This government is known as Koton Karfe. A week following the election, five of them arrived in Abuja, and they are all Muslims. They informed me that it is haram (prohibited) in Islam to take what is not yours.
“Therefore, senator, we have returned the funds you provided for our meals, lodging, and transportation, as we were not permitted to vote for you. But you are our candidate. As a result of being rejected, they burst into tears. Please take our pictures for historical and future documentation.
The funds are yours. Even though I am a Christian, I look at them and tell them that they have endeared Islam to me. You have returned the cash? The money should be taken. I have favoured you with this wealth. They began to cry, and I reassured them that next year, I will send all five of you to Makkah. If this is the extent of your faith in Islam, you have increased my respect for Islam.
“I have sponsored at least 400 Muslims to Makkah.” I was struck emotionally, though, by the fact that five Muslims returned the money I had given them, citing sharia law as the reason.
“I had no idea that such Nigerians still exist. They returned money and stated that they were not permitted to vote for me. “I photographed them,”