The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused INEC of being economical with the truth by saying only the courts can order the cancellation of last Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra, in which about 1.3 million of the 1.7 million registered voters were unable to exercise their franchise.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party reminded INEC that it did not wait for a court order to cancel the National Assembly elections in 2011, when it was obvious that many voters across the country could not vote due to the late arrival or non-delivery of voting materials.
”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’,” it said.
APC said the situation in Anambra last Saturday was even more serious because, in addition to the fact that voting materials were either late or not delivered at all, most voters were disenfranchised by an INEC official who apparently tampered with the 2011 Voters’ Register for the state.
”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 integrity of the 2011 Voters’ Register has been compromised by tampering, that register can no longer be relied upon 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 party has described as very strange indeed the role of the presidency and the PDP in the ongoing debate over the Anambra election.
”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.
”Pray, 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 said.