â€¢Â Â PDP kicks, alleges rigging
By Onyebuchi EzigboÂ in Abuja andÂ Ibrahim ShuaibuÂ in KanoÂ Â Â Â
Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC)Â on SundayÂ declared All Progressives Congress (APC) winner of the stateâ€™s local government election heldÂ on Saturday.
Declaring the results at a press conference at KANSIEC HeadquartersÂ on Sunday, the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Garba Ibrahim Sheka, said the ruling APC swept all the 44 chairmanship and 484 councillorship seats.
According to him, security reports received during and after the council poll showed that election was peaceful as no violence was recorded or arrest made during the exercise.
Sheka said that 25 political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which featured one chairmanship candidate, participated in the election.
While acknowledging that there were few challenges during the exercise, he, however, dismissed allegations of malpractices, insisting that the poll was free and fair.Â
Accepting that there was delay in the commencement of the election in almost all the polling units, he attributed the shortcoming to the late arrival of sensitive materials, which he said were ordered from China.Â
Sheka affirmed the neutrality of KANSIEC, saying:” I will not hesitate to declare any other party winner if any candidate from other political parties had won the election because we are not against nor in favour of any particular party.”
But in a swift reaction yesterday, the PDP rejected the results of last Saturday’s House of Representatives’ bye-election in Katsina State and the local council election in Kano State in which the APC candidates emerged victorious.
The PDP, however, urged its members in the two states to remain calm as it takes decisive but legitimate steps to reclaim their stolen mandate.
While accusing the APC of engaging in brute force and allocation of ballots to gain votes in the bye-election in Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency of Katsina, PDP also alleged that the Kano poll was characterized by outright cheating, underage voting and ballot stuffing.
The party said the resort to primitive cheating and deployment of heavily armed security forces to muscle votes for the APC in the House of Representatives’ bye-election in Katsina State had further shown that President Muhammadu Buhari and his party had completely lost popularity among Nigerians, even in the presidentâ€™s home state.
According to the PDP, the two elections have signified that the APC cannot win any free and fair election, even in their supposed stronghold.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statementÂ on Sunday, said the fact that the APC had to recourse to brute force and allocation of ballots to gain votes in the bye-election in Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency, which ordinarily should have been for them, a walk in the park, being President Buhariâ€™s constituency, shows that the party has pathetically lost it all.
The PDP said the fact that it still held a legitimate 22,690 votes against the 30,719 fraudulently allocated to the APC, despite the use of force and other brazen infractions by the APC, shows that PDP is the natural winner of the election.
He said: “It further strengthens our resolve that our party, the PDP, still commands a genuine followership among Nigerians.
“We, however, invite Nigerians and the international community to mark how the APC and its controlled Federal Government are corrupting our electoral system, by using force to intimidate the people and steal their votes.Â
“The APC is also corrupting security officials to use maximum force as a desperate measure to save President Buhari, whose popularity had dipped across our nation.
“In their desperation to help the President, the APC in cahoot with the inept Presidency declared war on the people by ensuring the deployment of over 1000 heavily armed and hostile security operatives for an election that held in only 15 polling units within two local government councils of Katsina State.Â
“It is unfortunate that the APC has recourse to the worst kind of intimidation and violations twelve calendar months ahead of the general elections.
PDP said that itÂ Â is compiling a comprehensive documentary evidence of infractions and irregularities including barring of legitimate voters from accessing polling centers, assigning of polling units to APC government functionaries, indiscriminate arrests of opposition party members and supporters, underage voting and allocation of votes for APC as well as conflict between results from the polling units and collation centers among others.
Also being compiled is the identity of the security and electoral officials used by the APC to subvert the will of the people, which will be made public while ensuring that they are prosecuted, the party said.