By Dapo Akinrefonn
Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, yesterday, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to resist pressures from those bent on sabotaging the 2019 elections, who are allegedly asking for compromise of the polls.
It also urged Nigerians to be wary against foreigners, who may want to manipulate the election process.
In a statement by Yinka Odumakin (South West), Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South and Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the forum urged INEC not to allow itself to be put under any pressure to delete the transmission of results from the polling units, saying it may have dire consequences.
It said: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports on Sunday that the commission has come under pressure to delete the electronic transmission of results from the polling units (PU) to a central server and the pasting of results at the polling units in the proposed guidelines for the 2019 elections in sync with the refusal to sign the Electoral Bill passed by the National Assembly.
“If these reports are true, it may just confirm the fears that the perpetual boast by the ruling party and its allies of assurance of victory in the 2019 presidential polls even before it holds is not based on winning the hearts of the people but through underhand means.”
The group argued that rigging usually starts with the changing of results announced by the polling officers as though party agents are expected to countersign results but the refusal of any agent to sign does not invalidate the results. This allows compromised polling officers to change figures between the Polling Units and the Ward Collation centers.
While it advised INEC to be mindful of the fact that the credibility of the conduct of the 2019 elections has a lot to do with the continued existence of Nigeria as a country, the forum urged the electoral commission to be above board like Caesar’s wife.
It said: “INEC must use form EC 60E, which will contain the scores of every candidate at every PU which must be pasted at every Polling Unit and transmitted to a central server by the presiding officer in the presence of agents.”
The group also alerted Nigerians as it may be possible that some forces are already in talks with some foreign mercenaries to interfere with our electoral process.