APC, PDP Trade Accusations on Plots to Rig 2019 Polls
APC: you want to import Russian hackers; PDP: You directed INEC to create phony polling centres
INEC: Allegations preposterous
Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Two frontline parties in the Nigerian political space, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have accused each other of plots variously to rig the 2019 elections.
While APC is accusing the PDP of recruiting some Russian hackers to manipulate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s data base if the bill allowing electronic transfer of result was signed into law, the PDP is alleging that the APC and Presidency had directed the INEC to open phony voting centres on the fringes of the desert where results would be padded in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.
But in swift reaction, the electoral body has described the allegations as distasteful, regretting that the parties could deliberately embark on peddling complete falsehood about the commission, with the sole intent of discrediting all the good efforts being put in place to ensure a credible 2019 general eslections.
The ruling party alleged it was the plot to use hackers that informed the PDP presidential candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, his National Chairman, Uche Secondus, Senate President Bukola Saraki and other leaders of the party insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari must assent to the new Electoral Bill.
Speaking at an interactive session with Correspondents on Friday in Abuja, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, alleged that PDP had enlisted the services of some internet hackers from Russia with a view to compromising the servers of the election management body.
Responding, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, contended that it was Buhari and the APC that had been caught in a frenzied desperation to rig the 2019 Presidential during a press conference in Abuja.
Nabena said, “They planned to bring some Russians to help them hack the system. That is their joker. Once the President sign the bill, they will just bring in the Russians to help them hack into the system. Saraki and others went to Russia and they have their plan to hack the system, input their figures after results have been transmitted electronically which will now be announced.
“The electoral Act we are using now was created by the PDP. You created a bill and now, you are afraid to use the bill that you created. Does that sound right?
“What the PDP is plotting is playing out, what they designed in Dubai. They started with inciting a strike from the Labour on the minimum wage to cause problem in the country, it didn’t work. They brought ASUU strike which also did not work and they now tried to create fuel scarcity.”
Nabena also alleged that the PDP’s plot were all part of the plots they planned in Dubai. “The next plan is on the Electoral Act amendment bill. Their plan is that if the president refuse to sign the bill, they will go and demonstrate and we are waiting for them. How can you put in the bill that once the votes are cast, you just transmit instead of counting first. That is part of their Dubai plot.
“We all know what they are trying to do. They also trying to bring in money into the system. All these vote buying won’t work this time around because they have failed this time around. Look at Obasanjo who is talking. PDP set up all these electoral bills. Was it the APC that introduced incident form? So, why are they afraid of their own shadow? Let us just pray that God will see us through this election,” he stated.
According Ologbodiyan, after his party vehemently rejected the plots by INEC by creating illegal polling centres in Chad and Niger Republic, under the guise of “special arrangement” for displaced Nigerians in those countries to participate in the Presidential election, INEC beat a retreat only to invent a fresh ruse by announcing that the “special arrangement” would only be for IDPs within the shores of Nigeria, while secretly retaining the illegal offshore voting plot.
“Having realised that there is no way they can win in a credible, free and fair Presidential election, the Buhari Presidency and the APC, in cahoots with the INEC have been engaged in series of provocative machinations aimed to corrupt the electoral process, trigger violent dissentions and ultimately derail our democratic process,” he alleged.
Ologbondiyan recalled that on Thursday, the party vehemently rejected the plots by INEC and the Presidency to rig the election by creating illegal polling centres in Chad and Niger Republic, under the guise of “special arrangement” for displaced Nigerians in those countries to participate in the Presidential election.
He stressed that PDP had exposed the plot to use such illegal centres for allocation of fictitious votes, massive ballot stuffing, voting by aliens, underage and unregistered persons to pull millions of fictitious votes in favour President Buhari.
Ologbondiyan noted, “Having been busted, INEC beat a retreat only to invent a fresh ruse by announcing that the “special arrangement” would only be for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within the shores of Nigeria, while secretly retaining the illegal offshore voting plot.”
“Intelligence available to the PDP, including those from our sources that are privy to clandestine meetings between the Presidency and INEC, shows that instead of the open offshore voting centres, the Buhari Presidency had directed INEC to circumvent the checks by secretly opening illegal voting centres at the desert fringes and remote border lines with Chad and Niger, and use them to achieve its original plans to rig the Presidential election.
“Part of the plot is to use these illegal remote centres, which will not have functional Smart Card Readers, to allow unchecked voting by aliens, and underage persons as well as provide the unlimited latitude for criminal allocation of fictitious votes for President Buhari and his party, the APC.”
The opposition party alleged that as part of the Buhari Presidency’s rigging plot, INEC had been instructed to deploy defective Smart Card Readers to IDP camps, particularly in some strategic northern states, to pave way for direct manipulations, including alteration of voter register and voting by unregistered persons, particularly, with the foreclosure of incident forms for manual accreditation.
He noted that this grand plot to rig was the reason Buhari had deliberately refused to sign the amendments to the Electoral Act, which among other things checked manual manipulation by insisting on the use of card readers for biometric accreditation of voters and elimination of over-voting.
Ologbondiyan said, “Our party completely rejects the plan by INEC to substitute biometric accreditation with manual verification on self-recognition and thumbprint on the voters register.
“This is essentially because all IDP camps in our country fall within the catchment area of an already delineated polling unit. Therefore any individual who is displaced from his original area of registration is at liberty to have his registration transferred to an existing statutory polling center near his or her IDP camp of residence. This is a provision that is clear to all, including the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.”
He said such primitive method of accreditation only opens the way for unlimited rigging, multiple, underage and alien voting, as well as ballot stuffing which would afford Buhari and the APC to manipulate themselves back to power against the wish of majority of Nigerians.
Ologbondiyan stressed that it was clear that the presidency was desperate to re-enact the same rigging scenario, which, in 2015, allowed 13.5 million unauthorised persons to participate in the Presidential election, paving the way for the illegal allocation of millions of fictitious votes to Buhari.
The PDP warned that this anti-democratic tendency may attract dire consequences as Nigerians are now, more than ever before, ready, willing and resolute to take back their country from the incompetent administration, come 2019.
The PDP also cautioned INEC chairman not to be used to set the country on fire but to immediately retrace its steps and untangle itself from the scheme.
Meanwhile, the Chief Press Secretary, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said it was distasteful that the PDP could deliberately embark on peddling complete falsehood about the INEC with the sole intent of discrediting all the good efforts being put in place to ensure a credible 2019 General Elections.
He stressed that the story about the possibility of the so called IDPs located in Chad and Nigeria Republic voting in the 2010 general elections was a result of a misrepresentation of facts by The Punch newspaper in its story on the Validation Conference in respect of the Framework for Voting for IDPs held on12th December in Abuja, for which the Commission had to promptly issue a rebuttal.
Oyekanmi stated, “Everybody knows that displaced persons living in foreign countries cannot be regarded as IDPs but refugees and there is no provision in our laws for any Nigerian living outside Nigeria to vote during the 2019 general elections.”
He lamented that but the party has continued to insist that the Commission is planning to establish 30,000 polling units and give the so-called IDPs in foreign countries the opportunity to vote in the general elections.
Oyekanmi noted what this means by implication, is to put the lives of INEC permanent and adhoc staff, especially the young National Youth Service Corps members at risk during the 2019 general elections with his continuous portrayal of the Commission as untrustworthy and fraudulent.
“INEC is not a political party. The Commission is not planning to establish any new polling units anywhere. Our only interest is to conduct free, fair and credible general elections in 2019 and we require the cooperation of all stakeholders, including political parties, to achieve this objective,” he said.