The Abia State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dr. Alex Otti has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu for confirming the alarm it raised that politicians have perfected plans to rig the 2019 elections.
Alex Otti Campaign Organisation recently 6 issued a statement signed by its Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Kazie Uko, drawing the attention of Abia indigenes to a clandestine plot by the government of Abia State and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to collect details of people’s PVCs and in some cases outrightly purchasing the PVCs, from unsuspecting members of the public.
Though Yakubu’s statement was not directed at any particular political party, the Alex Otti Campaign Organisation believes the INEC Chairman assertion gave credence to information at its disposal.
“We commend the chairman of INEC for this act of courage and boldness hardly seen in public service. We believe that with this kind of attitude, Nigerians will have confidence in INEC and the electoral process. We urge INEC to go a step further by collaborating with relevant security agencies to fish out politicians involved in this fraud and deal with them, accordingly. We urge Ndi Abia to be vigilant, we must not allow the event of 2015 repeat itself. The Alex Otti Campaign is resolute and will defend the mandate so given by Ndi Abia,” Uko stated.
Prof. Yakubu confirmed the Otti campaign revelation in Abuja, during the Commission’s quarterly consultative meeting with political parties. He accused some politicians of buying up Permanent Voter Cards or inducing voters financially to collect their Voter Identification Numbers. According to the INEC chairman, by collecting PVCs the politicians may be trying to deprive the voters of voting.
Yakubu said, “A new method of vote-buying is being devised. We have received credible information that some partisan actors are now going around buying up PVCs from voters or financially inducing them to collect the VINs (Voter Identification Number) on their PVCs.
“In some instances, telephone numbers and details of bank accounts of voters have been collected. By collecting the PVCs, their intention may be to deprive the voters of voting since no one can vote without the PVC. By collecting their phone numbers and bank details, the intention is to induce voters by electronic transfer of funds to their accounts, since it will be difficult to buy votes at polling units.
“By collecting the VINs, they may be acting on the mistaken notion that our system can be hacked into and the card readers somehow preloaded ahead of election and compromised. We want to assure Nigerians that we are aware of the new tricks. It is a futile effort; we will work with security agencies to deal with the violators of our electoral laws, including those who may be trying to compromise our staff responsible for making the PVCs available for collection by the legitimate voters.
Mr. Uko alleged that the Abia State government and its party, PDP, have set up organised groups, allocated large sums of money to them and charged them with the responsibility of fraudulently obtaining PVC details of voters, especially those in the rural areas.
“To realise this evil agenda, the government printed fake employment forms, brought some fertilisers and palm seedlings, and other gifts which are given to their unsuspecting victims in exchange for their PVCs. We understand that PVCs so collected are intended to be used if incident forms are going to be used by INEC, otherwise, they would be withheld to ensure genuine voters, majority of whom would vote against PDP, are disenfranchised,” the statement revealed.