Bayelsa polls: N-Delta coalition warns against rigging

26102015C Moses SiasiaABUJA—The Niger Delta Patriotic Coalition has called on the newly appointed Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu,   to ensure that the December 5, governorship election in Bayelsa State is free and fair.

This came as the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, called on the newly constituted INEC to fine tune the use of card reader machines ahead of 2019 general elections.

Briefing newsmen, yesterday in Abuja, Pastor Godknows Okauru, on behalf of the coalition, claimed that the criticism which greeted Yakubu’s appointment was a cause for worry having heard from several quarters that some stalwarts of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had vowed to reclaim the oil rich Niger Delta region.

He urged Buhari to provide a level playing field for all citizens to exercise their franchise according to existing rules and regulations guiding the conduct of transparent, credible, free and fair elections anywhere in the world.

He said: “President Buhari, who is the greatest beneficiary of his predecessor’s democratic credentials, has many lessons to learn and to prove to Nigerians that he is now a born again democrat. This is expected to play out in both his official and private conduct during the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states. The stories that plans have been made to reclaim the oil rich South-South region into the gold of the All Progressives Congress through the collaboration of state apparatus is very worrisome, and it is left to the newly appointed Chairman of INEC to emulate his predecessor and shun such anti-democratic activities by conducting himself in a manner that will be acceptable to all parties involved irrespective of political affiliations.

“Let it be known to those highly placed individuals that are perfecting plans to subvert the will of the people that both local and international observers have signified interest to monitor the elections and any attempt to perpetuate electoral fraud shall be met with a strong opposition from the electorate and men of goodwill. We, therefore, encourage them to jettison such thoughts and return to the grassroots to sell their manifesto to the electorate before it is too late.”

TMG tasks INEC on card readers

Similarly, the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, while commending the appointment of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as INEC Chairman, called on the electoral empire to fine tune the use of card reader machines ahead of 2019 general elections.

Chairman of TMG, Ibrahim Zikirullahi, in a statement in Abuja said: “For TMG, the emergence of Professor Yakubu is a veritable opportunity to consolidate on the gains made by INEC under the previous leadership. The introduction of technology as was seen in the use of the card readers during the 2015 general elections is one area that requires fine tuning ahead of the next general elections. TMG, therefore, calls on the new INEC helmsman to meticulously look at the extant challenges facing the commission and take decisive steps towards addressing them.”

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