By Austin Ogwuda, Asaba
BARELY two weeks to the governorship re-run in Delta State on January 6, virtually all the governorship candidates in the exercise are raising eyebrows over the delay in releasing the old voters’ register which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), promised to use in conducting the exercise.
Apart from the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), investigation showed that other political parties claimed that such development smacks of transparency which INEC had repeatedly harped on over the conduct of the rerun.
Despite the hue and cry, INEC seems not to bulge.
The State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Ogbudu Ada, in a statement in Asaba, weekend, said as a result of the rerun, “the INEC Delta State enjoins all registered voters to exercise their franchise at the polling units where they registered between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.”
But, the governorship of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Mr. Emmanuel Igbini, said he was suspicious because “this is the most critical aspect of the process to avoid a pre and post election dispute as this is meant to assure all candidates and political parties of the neutrality of the INEC presiding officers.
“During our (guber candidates) meeting with INEC on December 13, 2010,” he went on, “I asked the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), if he and other staff of the commission have complied with this provision of the Electoral Act 2006 to which he replied that they have not. The fact is that they have not yet complied with this act yet they are already conducting the election.”
He further stated that “my letter requesting that Certified True Copy of the 2006 voters’ register is informed by the fact that INEC confirmed it was ready and available and also the fact that I believe there is need to let the participating Candidates and Political Parties know what the Register looks like and those whose names are on it. It is one of the most important documents for a credible election. Sadly, INEC Delta State has not been able to make this available to me till date”.
On his part, Chief Great Ogboru of DPP while addressing a rally in Asaba last Friday said he had demanded for the voters’ register from INEC “but they said they are working on it. I tried to ask questions why they are working on it; that you have not concluded what they called voter’s register and you have a date for an election. And when I asked more questions they try to tell me that maybe we are afraid of an election. I am saying how do we play football match without the football”.
Labour Party governorship candidate, Comrade Abel Adijala said “at the last stakeholders meeting in Asaba, the REC of INEC promised that the old voters’ register would be released before the rerun on 6th of January 2011. That promise may never be kept as usual”, he said.