Senator Smart Adeyemi, who represents Kogi West in the National Assembly, has offered to sponsor five persons to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, for the hajj for returning the money he dole out to delegates during the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary in the senatorial zone.
Speaking with journalists at the National Assembly in Abuja on the outcome of the primary held on May 28, 2022, Adeyemi described the election as a complete rape of democracy, a day-light robbery and an extremely manipulated exercise.
The lawmaker said he participated in the primary against the advice of the state’s APC chairman, Abdullahi Bello, who, he said, asked him to step down and work fully for the presidential bid of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
Adeyemi alleged that delegates were coerced to vote against their choices, except an insignificant few.
He said five among the delegates from Koton Karfe local government area returned the money he gave out for “transport, accommodation and feeding” expenses after they voted against him.
The lawmaker said he was moved by their honesty and asked them to go with the money with a promise to sponsor them to Makkah on hajj pilgrimage in 2023.
He said: “Normally, we give some support to delegates to augment their expenses, transport, feeding and accommodation. But don’t ask me how much.
“Delegates from a particular local government, which is predominantly inhabited by Muslims, were not allowed to vote for me because the returning officer, who is from that local government and equally a Muslim asked, them to support Sunday Karimi, who is from a neighbouring federal constituency to mine.
“This local government is called Koton Karfe. A week after the election, five of them came to Abuja and they are all Muslims. They said to me that in Islam, it is haram (prohibited) to take what does not belong to you.
“So, senator, the money you gave for feeding, accommodation and transport to support us, we have returned all your money because we were not allowed to vote for you. But you are our candidate. They burst into tears, that they had been denied. But please, take our photographs for record purposes and in the future.
“This is your money. I look at them and said you have endeared Islam to my heart even though I’m a Christian. You returned the money? Please go with the money. I have blessed this money for you.
“They started crying and I assured them that next year, the five of you, I will send you to Makkah. If your faith in Islam is like this, then you have made me to respect Islam the more.”
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