Saturday, October 11, 2014

Exposed: Pro-Jonathan campaign group, TAN hired crowds to support Jonathan

TAN rally

The Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, a group passionately campaigning for a second term for Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan, has been hit by allegation of fraud, with some members of the group accusing it of refusing to pay them as agreed for staging a crowd in support of the president.

TAN has been conducting regional rallies in support of Mr. Jonathan since August, the event is attended by senior officials of the federal government, and thousands of supporters.

Much of the crowd at the event was rented, some aggrieved members of the group have told PREMIUM TIMES.

Politicians who are members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kano State, and were drafted to be part of the TAN rally, have narrated how they were asked to rent a crowd for the president for an agreed fee, only to be left stranded without money to compensate hundreds of youth and women hired for the rally.

One of the agents, Ibrahim Lawan, who said he is the Secretary of the PDP Youth Awareness Initiative, Kano, told PREMIUM TIMES that he was instructed to bring in 500 youth and women and to hire buses that will transport them to the venue of the rally in Kano city.

The arrangement, according to Mr. Lawan, was that each participant would be paid N500 on arrival, and N2,000 for each bus. Those contracted to rent the crowd hired at least 50 busloads of supporters, he said. But the story changed once they
arrived at the venue.

"But to my utmost surprise and confusion, as we entered the venue we tried to locate the organizers but we could not see them. When I called them they said I should be patient as they would settle everything after the event. But almost immediately, we realized that the whole thing is a scam because nobody was talking to us again," Mr. Lawan said.

He said they were left to source money and settle some of the youth who became restive and attacked them and their personal vehicles, and seized their belongings, including phones. Mr. Lawan said he managed to escape while two of his guards were injured in the fray that followed.

Another agent, Bello Dan Alkarya, also told PREMIUM TIMES that he was asked to bring in women and youth to the venue and would be given N500 naira for each of them.

Mr. Alkarya said he did, but unlike Mr. Lawan, he was short-changed as only N300 was paid for each person transported to the rally venue.

The aggrieved agents say they now have a pile of debt to settle and some of them who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES say they do not know who to talk to about the money they spent in bringing in supporters.

This matter is threatening to tear the support organization apart with the aggrieved members threatening to seek redress and to expose the sham they claim was on parade at the event.


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