By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Abia State chapter of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA), yesterday alleged that it has uncovered a grand plot hatched by the governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu and his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the 2019 polls.
State chairman of APGA, Rev Augustine Ehiemere, raised the alarm at a press conference in Umuahia during which he listed the various strategies already hatched by the ruling party to subvert the will of Abia people in the forthcoming polls.
In the 2015 poll APGA had won 11 seats in the 24 member House of Assembly and still holds the belief that its governorship candidate, Mr. Alex Otti had won the election but his mandate was stolen by the ruling party.
Ehiemere, whose prepared statement was read by his deputy, Chief Chima Onyekwere, said that the ruling party would have started implementing its rigging arranging last Saturday if not that the presidential and federal parliamentary poll were postponed by INEC.
Though the PDP swiftly denied any involvement to rig the poll, the APGA chairman insisted that from APGA’s intelligence reports, the PDP rigging strategy was to be carried out in the following ways:
“The use of fake military uniforms already purchased and stockpiled at a secret location which would be given to scores of carefully selected, trained and armed thugs who will work for the PDP to impersonate legitimate security agents.
“Use of Toyota Hilux vehicles fraudulently branded in army colour to carry the thugs dressed in military uniform and move round different parts of the state on the election day to intimidate voters and others on legitimate election duties.
“Selecting INEC collation officers from the University of Agriculture Umudike, who have already been bribed to announce the results completed by the PDP.”
However the publicity secretary of the PDP, Chief Don Ubani, described the allegations as “blatant lie from the pit of hell” adding that if APGA could come up with such “unfounded” allegations, it showed that the opposition party was indeed the one planning poll rigging.
According to him, the PDP had “never contemplated such “evil plot” of rigging the 2019 poll as the ruling party believes that it has continued to enjoy massive support of Abia people hence, it is not afraid of free and fair electoral contest.
Ehiemere also alleged that PDP had compromised INEC officials by “bribing them with not less than N1 billion to secure original critical sensitive INEC result sheets”, adding, “this we believe they had already done to secure the result sheets that were impounded by security agents on Friday “.
To prevent the rigging strategy from being carried out, APGA said that it has reported the matter to all relevant security agencies and also wrote an open letter to the Chief of Army Staff.
APGA also demanded that all Collation and Returning Officers recruited from the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike should be posted outside Abia State, since according to the opposition party to other states, alleging that they have been compromised to do the bidding of Abia State Government.