Posted by News Express | 11 January 2015 | 2,950 times
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been accused of desperation to return Presidency to the North during the forthcoming presidential election. The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) made the allegation in a statement issued this morning in Onitsha.
The statement signed by Intersociety Board Chairman Emeka Umeagbalasi and Head, Campaign & Publicity Department, Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., said that “there are strong indications that over 35 Million Nigerian Registered Voters have been disenfranchised and ousted from participation and voting in the crucial February General Elections courtesy of Jega’s INEC. Greater number of the referenced voting Nigerian population is located in the Southern part of the country. There are much more PVCs in the hands of Northern voters than in those in the South as we speak.”
Intersociety said it had become necessary for it to cry out “owing to credible reports available to us from privileged sources that some top INEC officials are deeply desperate to compromise the all important February Polls particularly the Presidential Poll using technical and demographic manipulation processes so as to return the Presidency to the North at all costs or by fire by force.”
According to the frontline rights group, “On close and criminological study of the information, substance appeared attached. This was further strengthened by the early September 2014 attempts by Jega’s INEC to hurriedly and un-popularly create more 30,000 polling units (PUs) across the country with glaring lopsided sharing formulae between the North and the South.
“In the said botched exercise, the North was allocated 21,000 PUs as against mere 8,000 allocated to the South. Hyper shock was the allocation of over 5,000 PUs to the Northeast geopolitical zone; a zone ravaged and displaced by insurgency and conquered by fears and traumas. As we write, Jega’s INEC has seemingly not ceased its desperation under reference.”
Intersociety said that “rather than focusing and dissipating its energies towards ensuring that all the registered Nigerian voters get their Permanent Voters Cards so as to participate and vote in the referenced crucial Presidential Poll and others, Jega’s INEC appears more concerned on getting bogus IDPs population to vote. As it stands now, high wired consultations and lobbying are ongoing to get it done at all costs. At the Senate, a bill to amend the Electoral Act of 2010 to get the IDPs vote is being quickened.”
Continuing, the group said: “From the shambolic and botched creation of 30,000 PUs and their over-bloated allocations to Hausa-Fulani Muslim strongholds, to efforts to get IDPs to vote at all costs; Jega’s INEC calculations are to get as much Muslim strongholds as possible in the North to participate and vote in the Presidential Poll and to shut out as much Christian strongholds as possible in the South from the crucial voting. In the North, when provisions of the Electoral Act are in gross breach such as high incidence of under-aged voter registration; they are condoned and tolerated.
“But in the South, reverse is always the case. Threat of violence is also commonly used in the North to perpetrate gross violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act and other electoral guidelines such as attempts by INEC ad-hoc staff in the polling centers to disallow under-aged voters. Such ad-hoc staff are instantly threatened with lynching even in the presence of armed security agents. Other electoral illegalities such as indiscriminate thumb-printing without recourse to the National Register of Voters also go unchecked in the North.
“Part of recent findings by the respected Vanguard Newspaper, which was published in its January 4, 2015 edition, revealed how hyper leniency was applied in the North by Jega’s INEC in the distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards to the extent that ‘whereas the Electoral Act & the guidelines provide that individuals are to collect PVCs in person, duly signed for after due identification as the bonafide owners of the PVCs, some district heads in some States of the North are being allowed to collect and warehouse PVCs on behalf of their wards in the district’.
“Conversely, in the South, hyper stringencies are applied and meted out to those registered voters who go to collect their PVCs in the designated LGA collection centers. In some collection centres, extortion racketeers are formed and entrenched. A Senatorial Candidate in Anambra State, for instance, told us recently that apart from the missing of 9,000 PVCs in a location under Anambra North Senatorial District that are yet to be traced, some rural peasants who trekked over five kilometres to their LGA PVCs collection centers went home disappointed.
This is because they could not pay shylock INEC staff on seat who demanded N500.00 per PVC, among other stringent conditions so imposed. Similar stringent measures were also visited against many voting populations in the South during continuous voters’ registration exercises leading to them being disenfranchised. As a matter of fact, millions of the voting population in the South have developed lukewarm attitude as a result of Jega’s INEC’s uneven and frustrating measures. But in the North, every adult and even under-aged is captured as a registered voter.
“Using the Vanguard Newspaper’s recent findings under reference as an example; out of the country’s two most populated states in terms of voting and non-voting populations located in the South and the North; that is to say Lagos and Kano states, the percentage of PVCs distribution in the two states clearly indicates that whereas 49% of the registered voters in Lagos State have collected their PVCs; 87.7% have theirs in Kano State. In other words, out of total registered voters of 5,426,391 in Lagos State, according to INEC recent data, 49% or only 2.5m have collected their PVCs.
“But in Kano State with total registered voters of 4,751,815, 87.7% or about 4.2m have collected their PVCs in the state. In all, desperation of Jega’s INEC to compromised the all important February 2015 General Polls in Nigeria particularly the Presidential Poll is becoming evidential and clearer as clock ticks closer to the polls.”
•Photo shows INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega.
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