By KINGSLEY OMONOBI
ABUJA – The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties, CNPP, yesterday condemned calls by the South East PDP for removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioners for Enugu and Imo states in next month’s general elections, saying it was a calculated attempt to manipulate the elections to suit certain interests.
The South East PDP through its secretary, Chief Vincent Okpalaeke, had alleged plans by some INEC officials to rig elections in Imo and Enugu states with the knowledge of the top INEC officers.
A statement signed by CNPP’s General Secretary, Willy Ezugwu, stated: “ A petition signed by the South East PDP Secretary, Chief Vincent Okpalaeke, on behalf of the South East Peoples Democratic called for the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioners of Enugu and Imo States for the alleged “Plan of some INEC officers to rig elections in Imo and Enugu States.
“In the said petition, the South East PDP claims it has information on plans by a past chairman and a commissioner of the commission to recruit some electoral officials of the commission in the states to massively rig the governorship elections in these states.”
CNPP, however, said that “these claims are rascally, frivolous, mischievous and irresponsible, and calculated to manipulate the elections to suit the petitioners in these states or derail the process where they fail”.
The petition further claimed that “South East PDP is certain to win the gubernatorial elections in these states. This is simply not true. It must be made clear that the PDP has been weakened in Enugu and Imo, and has remained increasingly precarious and unsure of itself, particularly in Enugu and Imo states.
“It is common knowledge that the party has repeatedly failed in all attempts to put its house in order only to now resort to the nefarious plot to rob opposition parties that have been toiling day and night to take over reins of power in Enugu and Imo states”.
“To be more specific, whereas the south east PDP claims information at it disposal reveals there are such plans to subvert its electoral fortunes in those states, the truth remains that the PDP South East has failed in all its desperate attempts to secure the cooperation of the Resident Electoral Commissioners in Enugu and Imo States, who have rejected all their cash and material gifts meant to induce them to work in their favour”.
“We have equally noted that in all places where the PDP is not comfortable with the INEC officials for failing to cooperate they try to discredit them by writing petitions against them. A case in point is the experience of Barr. Mike Igini, the Resident Electoral Commission in Cross River state who they are also fighting to remove”.
“We wish to further observe, with the general election less than one month away, this is not the time to entertain wishful thoughts of any ill-prepared political party wishing to force changes to bring the process under its sway”.
“We further counsel Attahiru Jega and the Independent National Electoral Commission to remain focused on their avowed commitment to bequeath a legacy of a free and fair election with the opportunity of the April polls. Jega and INEC should not allow itself to be hoodwinked by those planning victory through the back door”.