Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Brisk business on the fringes of elections

By IWPR Nigeria

 

 

 

    

 

The election-day instructions were clear. No movements and no vehicles on the roads except for essential duty workers. In short; there should be no commercial activities.

Yet it was business as usual for some petty traders and commercial motor-cyclists during the recent elections.

In Ifo local government area of Ogun State, the Nigerian Elections News Report, NENR, correspondent reported that local food vendors managed to beat the restriction order during last Tuesday's governorship election.

They were well patronized by voters, security personnel, youth corps members and others on electoral duty.

Ice-cream vendor, Jude Okorie and food vendor, Eniola Lawal said business was good because they doubled their sales as many who queued to vote were thirsty and hungry.

Another food vendor, Simon Utibe, described how tough it was getting to the polling unit because he had to rely on motorcyclists who also doubled their fares. But he said the risk paid off due to good sales.

The motor-cyclists, also called okada riders, actually made the most of the situation.

They charged their passengers between N150 and N200, instead of the normal N50 per drop.

Some of them said it was their way of getting part of the 'political-money' flowing around.

One of the motor cyclists, Musa Ahmed said he charged higher fares because he believed some of the voters had been bribed by politicians.

James Idiong, another okada rider, added that with many people desperate to get to the polling units it was natural for him to increase the fare.

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