With the Edo State governorship election just 72 hours away, there were allegations yesterday that fake voter’s cards are in circulation.
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate Governor Adams Oshiomhole presented copies of the fake cards to the Chairman of the Indepedent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Oshiomhole alleged that the cards were printed at Ubiaja, Esan South East Local Government Area, under the supervision of a senator, who he did not name.
The governor also tendered fake INEC security tags, which he said were to be given to thugs by opposition parties.
He said he had intelligence report that the thugs were to be given fake police and army uniforms.
Oshiomhole spoke at the final stakeholders’ forum organised by INEC for Saturday’s governorship election.
His words: “We have intelligence reports that a party, which has a history of rigging, has sewn army and police uniforms.
“You have a task to ensure that those with uniforms are genuine.
“Our people are used to the presence of soldiers. The Army should not wait for police to invite them. They should work together and be fully armed.
“We prefer more security to ‘undersecurity’. They should make others understand that weapons are for criminals.”
The governor urged Jega to punish parties involved in buying up voter’s cards and rejected the decision that voters should stay 300 metres away from polling units.
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, Solomon Edebiri, called for armed security operatives at polling units to prevent thugs from snatching ballot boxes.
He said ex-militants were being trained to cause disturbances during the election.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Charles Airhiavbere requested an amendment of the Electoral Act that would make governors drop their security personnel three months before the election.
The PDP candidate alleged that voter’s cards had been cloned and that vigilance groups are to assist in bringing people from neighbouring states.
Airhiavbere urged security agencies to monitor the former Niger Delta militant leader, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo and vigilance groups.
The INEC Chairman confirmed that the cards and tags presented by Oshiomhole were fake.
He said: “These are fake. Anybody who comes with this will be surprised. The pin numbers are different.”
Also yesterday, a new Commissioner of Police, Mr Femi Adenaike, was posted to Edo State to take over from Mr Olayinka Balogun.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, ordered the posting.
Adenaike was a Commissioner of Police in charge of federal operations at the Force Headquarters, Abuja.
Police spokesman Frank Mba confirmed the development. He said Adenaike and Balogun swapped positions.
Area Commanders and Divisional Police Officers were also swapped, Mba said.
“It is just a temporary arrangement for purposes of the election,” he added.
Jega explained that the commission created 5,513 voting points in 2,627 polling units, to hasten voting.
The INEC Chief debunked text messages being circulated that INEC has changed the venues of some polling units and collation centres.
He said: “INEC has not changed any collation centre. Any change in collation centres is cancellation of election.”
The INEC boss said movement would be restricted, adding: “I am satisfied with the preparation and will ensure that all goes well. What we have done is to ensure that adequate protection is provided.
“The best personnel have been recruited for this election. We will ensure that each local government has an Electoral Officer and a Resident Electoral Commissioner to monitor the election.
“The challenge is for you to have agents on ground. We have laptops and projectors where results will be entered and displayed electronically for all to see.”
The INEC chairman blamed politicians for abusing the voter’s register given to them to send wrong messages to voters.
He said photocopied voters cards would not be allowed and warned that anybody caught selling or buying voter’s cards would be prosecuted.
Jega, who ordered the removal of campaign posters and billboards in public places where voting is to take place, warned state broadcast stations against announcing results that have not been officially released.
Culled from a Nigerian newspaper, The Nation
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