As the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC continues to ‘walk in a shallow grave’ over the inconclusive governorship election in Anambra State, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the electoral body of insincerity.
According to the opposition party, it was unfair for INEC to declare that only court order can annul the last Saturday’s election in the state, where about 1.3 million of the 1.7 million registered voters were unable to cast their votes.
APC in a statement through its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, reminded the electoral powerhouse that it does not need to wait for a court order to cancel the election since it did not wait for the court before the National Assembly elections in 2011 was cancelled. It said that INEC cancelled the election when it became apparent that many voters across the country could not exercise their franchise due to late arrival or non-delivery of voting materials in many polling unit.
He said, “In announcing the cancellation of the National Assembly election in 2011, INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega said, among others, that it was to ‘maintain the integrity of the elections and retain effective overall control of the process.”
The party chieftain noted that the situation in Anambra last Saturday was even more serious because voting materials were either late or not delivered at all in some polling centers.
“Therefore, there are more compelling reasons now to cancel the Anambra governorship election than what led to the cancellation and rescheduling of the National Assembly election in 2011, unless of course INEC is still acting out the script handed to it for the ill-fated election,” the party said.
It also said since the credibility of the 2011 Voters’ Register has been compromised, the said register can no longer be used by INEC to organize any election in Nigeria.
“The emerging allegations are very serious. First, the Voters’ Register for Anambra has been allegedly tampered with by an INEC official to disenfranchise a huge number of voters, to such an extent that only 451,826 voters were accredited out of the 1,763,751 registered voters in Anambra State.
“Secondly, the disenfranchisement started from the data capturing stage, when the machine was apparently manipulated not to capture those whose names start with ‘O’ or ‘U’, and that is a whole lot of people. Against this background, it is obvious to all fair-minded people, not the rabidly partisan PDP, that INEC ‘s computer data-base must have been fraudulently, irreparably and totally adulterated such that no credible Voters’ Register can anymore be produced from the 2011 voters’ registration data.
“That is why we are not just calling for the cancellation of the Anambra governorship election, but also saying that even a fresh election cannot and must not be conducted on the basis of the 2011 Voters’ Register. Unless Nigeria embarks on another voters’ registration exercise, it is doubtful if INEC has the ability to ameliorate the damages already done to 2011 registration information by its corrupt and inept officials.
“That is why we are calling on Prof. Jega not to withhold the name of the main saboteur in Saturday’s poll, and to also investigate the level to which the Voters’ Register has been compromised, fish out all those involved, find out who their sponsors are and make all of them to face justice,” APC said.
Meanwhile, the APC has faulted the presidency and the PDP over its silence in the ongoing drama over the Anambra election.
The party said, “The conventional wisdom is that political parties take their bearing from their candidates on election day. But in the case of the PDP and the Presidency, not only have they abandoned their candidate in the Anambra poll, who himself has derided the election and called for its cancellation. They have also disowned him by going ahead to hail the poll as free and fair.
“It is now glaring to all that the disgrace that INEC has suffered from the Anambra debacle is because the electoral body is acting out the script written by the Presidency and APGA for the election. The claim by the PDP spokesman that our party is trying to discredit the entire electoral process is as shallow as it is laughable.
“How more can you discredit an election that the organizer itself (INEC) has admitted was sabotaged by its own officials? Is it the APC that revealed the information concerning the role of INEC saboteurs? Did the PDP candidate find his name on the voters’ register used for Saturday’s election? Obviously, things have fallen apart in the contraption called the PDP and the centre can no long hold there,” it added
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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