By Victor Ahiuma-Young
BENIN â€” BARELY two weeks to the August 22, 2009 re-run election the Akoko-Edo North Constituency, there are reports that state security agents may have uncovered a printing press where newly printed voters registers are allegedly being received byÂ agents of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in state.
This is coming on the heels of threat text messages allegedly received by the Action Congress (AC) candidate, Alhaji Kabiru Adjoto, to withdraw from the race or have himself and members of his family kidnapped.
Already, the AC candidate has made formal reports to the State Security Service, the Commissioner of Police and other security agencies, stressing that he could no longer stomach the threats.
A statement by the President of Afenmai Youth Movement (AFM), Comrade Sani David, alleged that sources revealed that a printing press in Benin City, Wednesday, allegedly got contracts from Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ikpoba Hill, to print fresh voters registers which were subsequently handed over to some PDP chieftains.
According to the statement, â€œIf this allegation is anything to go by, then the process of rigging the polls may have begun.â€
We have been informed by a high-powered source from the security agencies in the State that investigations have begun into the matter.
They thatÂ until they (security people)Â make formal report and consummate on the circumstances surrounding this development, they cannot authoritatively tell those involved and what are the next line of actionÂ This new development is geared towards grabbing power at all cost and as such print new votersâ€™ registers where names of voters who are not likely to vote for PDP are made away with from all the five wards and subsequently inject those in their favour, thereby disenfranchising voters.
We are sure that this isÂ not possible without connivance of the electoral empire who would on the day of election shock voters. Again, donâ€™t forget the role played by INEC during the April 14th 2007 election in the said local government where at the Elections Petition Tribunal, the Returning Officer openly defended PDPâ€.
â€œWe have report PDP Chieftains have allegedly started distributing fake Army Uniforms to hired thugs in other to camouflage to dismiss and scare innocent voters. The report said
PDP want to use election as a test case for after the demise of our Leader, Chief Samson Ekhabafe. According to the report, the PDP is arguingÂ that Oye election in Ekiti state is as important as this election.Â From what we, gathered , the PDP is boasting that they defeated AC there (in Ekiti) and that they ill repeat that here.
They claim that their national leader is in town and there is a meeting going on now at the residence of a party Chieftain in the local government (name withheld) They said they â€œcontrol the police as a federal institution; INEC is a federal institution, so also is the Nigerian Army.
Nobody should be deceived that the AC or Adams Oshiomhole is in charge in Edo or Akoko-Edo.â€ But AFM wants to use this medium to alert the security agents and the good people of Akoko Edo North and all peaceful loving people of the state and in the country that we shall not tolerate any act of rigging or thuggery during the re-run. Enough is enough.â€