The Edo State Chapter of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of colluding with the ICT unit of Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the July 14 governorship election in favour of the PDP.
State Chairman of ACN, Thomas Okosun, who addressed the press on Sunday night alleged that Edo State leaders of the PDP at a recent meeting in Abuja presided over by Chief Tony Anenih discussed extensively their detailed plans on how to manipulate and mutilate the voters’ register in collusion with the ICT unit of INEC both in Abuja and in Benin with a view to rigging the forthcoming those of election in Edo State.
According to Mr. Okosun, it was resolved at the meeting to bring in thugs from neighbouring states to amongst other things register them in some targeted units for two purposes: one, increase their votes given the fact that they don’t have supporters; secondly and more dangerously to register such thugs in units where they will be used to foment trouble during the election.
At the said meeting, it was resolved by the Edo PDP to mutilate the voters register, joggle names of voters from one polling unit to another, cause confusion and delete original voters’ names and replace them with their thugs.
In view of this, the Edo State Chapter of ACN petitioned the Chairman of INEC to draw his attention to the wicked and desperate plans of the Edo State PDP in collusion with the ICT unit of the INEC to give undue advantage to the PDP in the forthcoming elections.
“As if to confirm our apprehension in the said petition, we have discovered that the modalities and methodologies for the forthcoming registration exercise tend to raise more questions than answers. If the purpose of the exercise is intended to capture those who have attained the age of 18 since the last election of 2011, and given the projected population growth rate of 3 percent, why embark on a full blown voters registration exercise?” Okosun queried. The ACN Chairman recalled that before the governorship election in Adamawa, Kebbi, Sokoko, Bayelsa and Cross Rivers states, INEC conducted continuous registration exercise only at local government headquarters level. In the case of Cross River, there was no continuous voters’ registration at all and yet, elections were conducted by INEC.
He, however, wondered why INEC now decided to deploy 472 fully calibrated Direct Data Capture Machines for use in all the 192 wards in Edo State, thus, giving the exercise a resemblance of a full blown or fresh voters’ registration exercise.
“Against the backdrop of the fact that INEC has restricted itself to conducting the Continuous Voters’ Registration in other states herein before mentioned, why has Edo state now become so special to warrant it veering off from its established pattern? If INEC were to do exactly what they did in other states, INEC will require 18 DDC machines and if it were to conduct registration in the 192 wards of the state, it would require 192 DDC machines and not the 472 DDC machines already deployed to the state for the exercise. What will INEC be doing with the excess DDC machines of 454 and 280 respectively for either the local government or ward level? The question is; what is the failure rate of the DDC machine that they would require over 100 percent back up machines?
“The answer is simple: for the EDO PDP to achieve their massive rigging plan perfected with the INEC ICT unit in Abuja and Benin, they needed to deploy excess DDC machines to enable them achieve their aim of manipulating the process in the forthcoming election. The PDP would also use such excess machines to register their imported thugs from neighbouring states to manipulate the entire electoral process.
“No wonder, Chief Tony Anenih reportedly boasted that given the arrangement going on in the state, and the presidency and the National Executive Committee of the party, we are sure that PDP will return to Edo State come July 14, 2012,” Okosun said.
In view of this, the Edo ACN said that as was the case in Adamawa and a few other states, and given all the alleged rigging plans hinged on the voters’ registration process, “we demand the exercise be suspended, and that if the registration must take place at all, it must be limited to local government headquarters as was the case in Kogi, Sokoto, Adamawa and Kebbi.