By-election: Leaked memo of Zamfara govt’s rigging strategy sparks controversy

Posted by News Express | 23 November 2020 | 1,376 times

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•Governor Matawalle


A leaked memo purportedly signed by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor of Zamfara State, Bashir Maru, has revealed a plan to rig the Bakura State Assembly by-election in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party.

The memo, which is dated September 8, 2020, was addressed to the Governor, Bello Matawalle.

However, the governor’s media adviser, Zailani Bappa, described the letter as fake.

In the document, it is stated that the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr. Asmau Maikudi, had refused to assist the state government to win the by-election hence the need to come up with a strategy that would guarantee the victory of the party.

The memo read in part, “From the speeches of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Asmau Maikudi, during her courtesy visit to the Government House to intimate his Excellency of her commission’s readiness to conduct credible by-election in the aforementioned constituency is evident that the commissioner is not ready to assist the state government or the party.”

A recommendation is subsequently communicated to the governor, asking him to ensure that the ad hoc workers that would be used by the Independent National Electoral Commission to undertake the election should be members of the party.

The governor is also advised to, under the pretext of preventing COVID-19, cordon off all exits and entrances to the local government where the election is expected to hold.

All special advisers are also expected to act as party agents at all polling units.

The document further reads, “All honourable commissioners, special advisers and local government sole administrators are to be deployed as agents in all polling units; and total restrictions of movement of non-Bakura indigenes from accessing the entire local government before, during and after the election using the security situations and COVID-19 protocols as a reason while efforts will be intensified to get INEC collaboration or some of the ad hoc staff that will be engaged by INEC to be from the state government or the party.”

The Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, who posted a copy of the memo on his Twitter handle, wondered how the 2023 elections would be if this was happening in a state by-election.

Itodo tweeted, “This leaked memo provides details on how Nigerian elections are rigged from government houses. This is the riggers’ playbook. How do we counter these people in 2023?”

However, a media aide to the governor’s Zailani Bappa, said the document was a fake, adding that the state government would address it in a press conference on Monday.

“That document is fake. We will hold a press conference on the matter on Monday,” he said.

The governor, who is a member of the PDP, was declared the winner of the Zamfara governorship election by the Supreme Court due to the failure of the ruling All Progressives Congress to submit the name of its governorship candidate before the deadline set by INEC. (The PUNCH)

Source: News Express

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