The All Progressives Congress, APC, has said every available evidence going into Saturday’s governorship election in Osun State shows the clear hostility by INEC and the security agencies towards the APC, which is one of the parties fielding candidates for the election.
In a statement issued in Osogbo on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party in particular expressed grave concern over recent pronouncements by INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, including the one pushing party agents 300 metres away from polling booths, that clearly negate the provisions of the Electoral Act.
It also cited another indication of the partisan stance of INEC, which is supposed to be a neutral arbiter but has now descended into the fray, as the Commission’s blunt refusal to respond to all the issues of concern raised by the APC, with less than 24 hours to the election.
Citing instances, APC said: ”On the 4th of August 2014, the Osun State Secretary of the APC wrote a letter to the State Resident Electoral Commissioner asking to be furnished with the certified copy of the Register with which the Permanent Voters Cards were distributed.
”Again on the 6th of August, the Osun State Secretary of the APC wrote a letter to the Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner asking for the resolution of discrepancies in the updated voters register, a copy of which was given to each of the political parties. In the said letter, the party made particular mention of discrepancies in various units in Wards 01 Ayedade Local Govt, Ward 06, Atakumosa Local Govt, Ward 05, Ede North Local Govt,Ward 02, Ejigbo Local Govt, Ward 06, Ifedayo Local Govt. Up till this moment, the party is yet to
receive any response to either of the letters.”
The party also said that at the stakeholders meeting that was chaired by the INEC Chairman on Wednesday, Aug. 6th, it (APC) asked INEC to make available to all political parties the Voters Identification Numbers of all unclaimed Permanent Voters Cards and publicly declare all such cards invalid for the purpose of Saturday’s Election, not noted: ”We are yet to hear anything about this demand less than 24 hours to the election.”
”More worrisome, however, is the pronouncement by Prof Jega that party agents won’t be allowed within 300 metres of the polling booth. We sincerely hope Prof Jega has since reversed himself on this matter, otherwise we can all kiss free and fair election in Osun on Saturday goodbye,” it said.
On the security side, APC said the police, military and DSS personnel deployed to Osun for the election have left no one in doubt that they are working for the PDP and not for the nation.
Citing instances of the security agencies’ partisanship, the party said the needless and senseless show of power displayed by the DSS in Osun a few weeks ago, the disruption of the NLC solidarity in support of Gov. Aregbesola by both the police and the DSS, and the presence of the Minister of State for Defence and the Minister of Police Affairs presence in Osun in the last one week are clear pointers to the partiality of the security deployed to Osun state for the election.
”Then the sudden removal of the Osun state Commissioner of Police and all his deputies less than 48 hours to the election; and the fact that Chris Uba, not known to be a military man, has been given 50 soldiers to command in Osun on Saturday to terrorize and brutalize any APC supporter that may want to disrupt the PDP rigging plan, are enough reasons for anyone to be seriously concerned.
”Add to these the fact that the election has been militarized, with over 73,000 security operatives, both official and unofficial, swarming all over Osun; hundreds of thugs in civil defence uniforms, ex-militants, criminals and ex-convicts and murderers all in various official uniforms being allowed to run riot in Osun state, with the full connivance and open collaboration of the official security agents, and one will see nothing but a recipe for chaos as well as the intimidation, harassment and arrest of opposition supporters,” it said.
APC reiterated its call on the international community, local and international observers, people of conscience and indeed all lovers of democracy to pay a close attention to the events before, during and after Saturday’s election and to take all the necessary actions to help make the election free, fair, credible and transparent.
”This is all we ask for, and we seek no favour from anyone beyond ensuring a level playing field for the candidates in Saturday’s election, in the interest of the survival of our nascent democracy and in order to enthrone a culture of credible elections in our country,” the party said.