By Lola Seriki-Idahosa, Kaduna,NorthWest, Nigeria
The Social Democratic Party, (SDP) has revealed how All Progressive Party (APC) elevated rigging by voters inducement to a higher level especially the last weekend’s bye-elections held in various parts of the country, those of Bauchi South senatorial district and Lokoja-Kogi Federal Constituency.
According to a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of SDP, Mr. Alfa Mohammed and made available to TraceReporter in kaduna, the election revealed the new rigging technology introduced by All Progressive Congress, APC in our electoral process.
The statement further reads: ” In most of the polling units, two parallel queues not far from each other were seen, one for those waiting to cast their votes and the other one for those who had voted and waiting to collect the amount of money negotiated upon the confirmation by the agents stationed near the voting tables that the voters had cast their votes for the APC.
According to the statement. “The last weekend bye-elections held in various parts of the country, especially those of Bauchi South senatorial district and Lokoja-Kogi federal constituency where SDP candidates were favoured to win the elections were nothing but highest grade of electoral fraud ever witnessed in Nigeria. The Election revealed the new rigging technology introduced by All Progressive Congress, APC in our electoral process.
In most of the polling units, two parallel queues not far from each other were seen, one for those waiting to cast their votes and the other one for those who had voted and waiting to collect the amount of money negotiated upon the confirmation by the agents stationed near the voting tables that the voters had cast their votes for the APC. This is a far departure from what we used to experience in the past when some partyagents secretly canvas for votes around the polling units. Regrettably, all these happened in the full glare of both the INEC officials and the Security agencies who in some cases were in cooperation with the perpetrators. Apart from open vote purchase introduced by the APC, religious leaders were engaged and massively funded to indoctrinate their flock against our female candidate in their sermons in worship places. Ballot box snatching which have become more prevalent in the recent elections were deployed by APC government sponsored thugs in Kogi and Bauchi in particular, with government officials leading the gangs in many instances. Thousands of voters from SDP controlled units were either disenfranchised or results from such units were cancelled.All these were possible due to the inaction of both the security agencies and the INEC in the face of the malpractices. Thousands of electorate in SDP dominated arears who thronged INEC registration centres to register or collect their pvc were kept on queues for hours and at times dispersed with tear gas in order to deny them opportunity to vote their choice candidates. On the above notes, we in the social democratic party, SDP warned that if these newrigging styles are not quickly nipped in the bud, no opposition candidate should expect victory, no matter the popularity and acceptance by the electorate, a situation which promises doom for the country. We therefore wish to state as follows:
1. We reject and call for the cancellation of the bye elections in both LOKOJA-KOGI FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY AND BAUCHI SOUTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT.
2. We enjoin the security personnel on election duties to avoid the temptation of taking side during elections in the interest the Nigeria; and to give effect to the laws against voters inducement and electoral hooliganism.
3. INEC should adopt a voting architecture that will ensure secrecy of voting in such a way that it will be impossible for any person to know or see who a voter voted for atthe polling units.
4. INEC should embark on aggressive campaign against monetisation of votes and hooliganism.
5. INEC should make it a rule that no qualified voter is disenfranchised at the polling units during the elections on the account of their difficulty in collecting the pvc.
6. More registration centres should be established to fast track registration and address the hardship being experienced on daily basis by huge number of registrants across the country.
National publicity secretary, SDP.