…Expresses readiness for Supplementary Elections
OBIORA IFOH, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress has said that the proactive steps taken by security agents in the March 9th Governorship and House of Assembly election to checkmate a repeat of the 2015 killings and destructions in Rivers state is commendable and should be applauded by all peace-loving people.
The party said it has no fears over the planned supplementary elections in some states as scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) while also condemning the decision to suspend proposed supplementary election in Bauchi state.
After the March 9th governorship elections across the country, the polls in six states – Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto – were declared inconclusive by INEC while electoral process was also suspended in Rivers state.
APC said it is very confident of victory in the forthcoming supplementary elections and that its commitment to free and fair elections in the county remains resolute.
It also urged INEC to ensure that all loopholes that led to rigging, vote buying and intimidation of voters is blocked.
APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu in a statement on Sunday noted that INEC declared the governorship election in Benue State inconclusive, citing an insufficient margin in votes obtained by the APC candidate Barr. Emmanuel Jime and the PDP candidate, Governor Samuel Ortom.
“Even though the PDP claims a bogus lead of over 81,000 votes, reports strongly establish that this dodgy figure is an aggregate of ‘votes’ obtained by subterfuge not from the numbers recorded by the card reader.
“There were cases in Logo, Gwer-West, Vandeikya, Guma, Buruku and Gboko Local governments where the card reader was not used.
“In Guma, a local government predominated by the APC, zero votes were allocated to our candidate by thugs loyal to the governor of the State, as agents of the party were chased away and election material diverted and ballot papers thumb-printed for the governorship candidate of the PDP.
“In Logo, security reports indicated that the ballot papers were massively thumb-printed the night before the election day, while a brazen case of under-age voting supervised by state government compromised security personnel, was prevalent on the actual day of voting.”
The party noted that there is no doubt that its candidate obtained the highest number of legitimate votes obtained with the usage of the card reader.
In Rivers state, Issa-Onilu said the party was concerned and deeply troubled by the unfolding events in the state while also strongly condemning the crisis that erupted in the state.
According to the party’s spokesperson, “This unholy alliance between Governor Nyesom Wike, PDP and INEC is to prevent Rivers people from electing a candidate of their choice by imposing Wike, the PDP candidate on them. It was glaring that Wike was losing until INEC stepped in to halt the process apparently to save Wike from impending defeat. INEC must put a halt to this madness and brazen illegality.
“With regard to the governorship election in Rivers State, APC has observed with dismay the macabre dance between Wike and INEC in Rivers State. It is on record that Wike through the Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Obo Effanga engaged PDP card-carrying members as Local Government Area (LGA) Collation Officers to skew the elections in favour of Wike and the PDP.
“We call on the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to immediately redeploy Mr. Effanga from Rivers State in order to avoid crisis that may follow the organised crime being executed by Wike and Obo Effanga to rig and alter the result of the 2019 governorship polls in Rivers State in favour of Wike.”
He said the party believes that the proactive steps taken by security agents to checkmate a repeat of the 2015 killings and destructions in the state is commendable and should be applauded by all peace-loving people.
In Plateau state, the party said its comfortable lead is unassailable while also urging its members, supporters and indeed the Plateau electorate not to be complacent, but remain focused as it prepares for “the supplementary election that will give our performing candidate, Governor Simon Lalong a second term in office to consolidate on his first-term achievement.”
In Kano state, APC noted how the Kano State Police Commissioner allegedly assisted the opposition PDP to rig inside Kano city with the deployment of police security for Rabiu Kwankwaso loyalists while state commissioner’s orderlies were withdrawn.
He said, “Kano remains an APC state. With the massive votes garnered by our presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari; the entire incoming 9th National Assembly positions – 3 Senators and 24 House of Representatives – won by the APC in Kano State; 27 State House of Assembly seats won by the APC out of 39 and governorship election victories in all local governments outside Kano metropolitan, there is no doubt that Kano State is a stronghold and key support base of the APC.
“The APC’s visible achievements in Kano state under Governor Abdullahi Ganduje are enough to give the party an emphatic victory in the rerun election. Again, the rerun will be mostly in APC-controlled rural areas and Nasarawa local government area where our Deputy Governor, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna is from. Undoubtedly, Kano state remains an APC stronghold and remains in our firm control.”
The party however, rejects INEC’s decision on the governorship election results from Tafawa Balewa local government area in Bauchi State, as signed and announced by the electoral body’s National Commissioner and chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
“While the close relationship between Festus Okoye who chaired the fact-finding committee and Yakubu Dogara of the PDP is well known, hence inappropriate for the fact-finding exercise for Bauchi state, INEC has failed to adhere to the fundamental principle of fair-hearing by not inviting our agents during the hearing to ascertain the circumstances leading to the cancellation of the Tafawa Balewa local government election result.
“INEC’s decision is illegal as the electoral body and contravenes the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended
“We reiterate that according to Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended) and INEC Guidelines for 2019 General Elections, the electoral body is not empowered to reverse any decision taken at the Collation Centre by the Returning Officer appointed for that purpose. Such decisions can only be reversed by a court of law, especially when INEC cannot approbate and reprobate.”
Issa-Onilu said it is on record how the PDP candidate and state governor, Aminu Tambuwal used thugs and fake security agents to scare voters in the state and that gave PDP agents a free and field day to rig and manipulate the governorship election.
He said, “We are also aware how the huge monies were used to buy votes and how complicit INEC officials disenfranchised APC members by purporting that card readers machines stopped working in APC strongholds..
“The forthcoming supplementary election in Sokoto state gives the APC; our governorship candidate, Aliyu Ahmed and indeed the Sokoto electorate and an opportunity claim our mandate.
“Sokoto state is ready for the Next Level, we must not allow unpopular elements in the state and their backers in the discredited PDP to steal their mandate and subvert the will of the Sokoto electorate.”
In Adamawa, the party said it had reported over-voting and use of security personnel to intimidate APC agents and supporters.
“While we are confident of our party and candidate Governor Jibrilla Bindow’s victory ahead of the supplementary election in the state, we urge all stakeholders to avoid actions that can plunge the state into crisis.
“We equally urge INEC and relevant security agencies to ensure the supplementary election is free, peaceful and fair compared to the last inconclusive governorship election in the state which was characterised by many irregularities and voter intimidation. No political ambition is worth the life of any voters.”
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