By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA — Presidential Campaign Council of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has asked the owner of the online platform alibaba.com, Jack Ma, to permanently remove the cloned Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) from its platform.
The campaign council stated that the sale of PVCs on the online platform amounts to a breach of the nation’s electoral integrity and it’s national security.
The council was reacting to a statement by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on the alarm it raised over attempts to clone PVCs, with the intention of selling same online.
The commission in a statement issued by its Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, late Sunday evening, had said it was taking the matter seriously, and promised to engage government and security agencies as well as the promoters of the platform in order to get to the root of it.
The letter from Atiku’s campaign office was dated July 2, and addressed to the owner of the online hub, Jack Ma. The letter written by the director general of Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation and former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, is entittled “A Matter of National Security and Electoral Integrity Involving alibaba.com.”
The director general of the campaign noted: “I write this open letter because my attention has been drawn to an egregious breach of Nigeria’s electoral integrity and thus our national security, by the sale of Nigerian Permanent Voter Cards, on alibaba.com.
“We are very concerned about this security breach because it threatens Nigeria’s desire to build strong institutions, like the Independent National Electoral Commission. A situation like this could lead to massive vote buying and thus thwart our efforts and instead create strong men where we want to enable strength in institutions.
“Permanent Voter Cards were used in the 2015 Nigerian elections and the alibaba platform was also in existence then, yet we did not have this breach. That precedence leads me to believe that if alibaba.com refuses to lend its platform to those unscrupulous elements who want to thwart Nigeria’s democracy, we would greatly increase the chances of a free and fair Nigerian election in 2019.”
The former governor while appealing to Ma to permanently remove these items from alibaba.com, asked him to consider sharing information with Nigeria’s security apparatus that may help expose any impropriety.
The campaign further warned that the world was currently witnessing myriads of allegations, counter allegations and investigations into election meddling in the 2016 American Presidential elections.
He added: “These occurrences have ensnared several technology, Information Technology and social media platforms including Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Twitter just to mention a few.”
“Their involvement has had far reaching political and economic impact which has affected their market capitalisation and consumer confidence. It is also in the light of preventing such a scenario involving Nigeria and alibaba.com that I make these appeals. I trust that I can count on your cooperation,” the letter said.