By Emma Amaize
THE Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, said it had uncovered an alleged deceitful plot by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to manipulate and rig forthcoming elections for President Muhammadu Buhari and All Progressives Congress, APC, through several devious strategies.
Publicity secretary of the party, Dr Ifeanyi Osuoza, said in a statement at Asaba, asserted that the first gambit of the electoral body was to stage-manage the pre-loading and key in the Card Readers with pre-determined fictitious voters before accreditation.
“Our thorough investigations reveal that the first ploy in the uncovered series of stratagems to tinker with the February 16 and March 2 elections is a deceptive tactic designed to make President Buhari and the APC candidates gain the upper hand through underhand manipulation of pre-loading and stuffing of Card Readers before accreditation with pre-determined names of fictitious voters.
“In other words, the import of the plot is to manipulate the smart card readers so as to substitute biometric accreditation with manual verification of already pre-loaded names thus paving way for mass rigging and allocation of fictitious votes for President Buhari and other APC Candidates during the elections,” he said.
Osuoza stated, “In addition to this brazen plot, we also have it on good authority that the ultimate plan of the supposed independent electoral umpire is to allegedly swap the original result sheets at the collation centres, all part of the grand desperation to manipulate the electoral process and short-change the will of the people…”
“Again, we have also been alerted to the fact that the APC in a grand design to infiltrate the composition and membership of electoral officers for the election, had cashed in on the shortfall of required personnel from the Federal College of Education (Technical), FCE(T), Asaba and the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, FUPRE, Effurun.
“It has submitted the names of loyalists and card-carrying members of the APC masquerading as staff of the two institutions, to INEC in order to make up the deficit as demanded by the electoral umpire.
“It will be recalled that the national secretariat of our party, the PDP, had recently handed INEC, a 48-hour ultimatum to make public the list of all officials and ad-hoc staff that would be involved in any manner or form in the February 16 Presidential election at all levels, for verification by stakeholders.
“That demand had been predicated on findings, which had suggested that the INEC leadership had deferred to directives by Buhari Presidency and granted leeway to the APC to collate lists of their loyalists from APC state governors and candidates, across the federation.
“The lists were subsequently handed over to INEC to serve as electoral officials, including ad-hoc staff and returning officers at the polling units.
“We also recall that the APC had openly directed INEC to ignore the PDP and go ahead with its compromised list and shocking as this may sound, INEC leadership had completely disregarded our demand.
“From the foregoing therefore, it is clear to all that the Buhari Presidency and the APC are out to rig the election and that INEC is in clear deficit of the required will to conduct a credible, free and fair election.
“We are, therefore, reiterating the call earlier made by our National Secretariat and particularly challenging INEC to produce the list of electoral officers it has received from the Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba and Federal University of Petroleum Resources, FUPRE, Effurun, both in Delta state.
“INEC should display the names of these persons alleged to be staff of the two institutions in the public domain for verification, authentication and confirmation by the management authorities of the FCE (T) and FUPRE as either members of the Academic or Non-academic Staff of the institutions.
“We urge the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmud and his Electoral Commissioners and officers to wash their hands clean off these evil plans and plots as any contrary action has the real possibility of stoking a major crisis during the elections.
“We demand that INEC supervises and produce for Nigeria a free, fair and credible election by living above board as a trustworthy, dependable and unbiased umpire.
“We equally call on the various security agencies to see to it that they remain unbiased, conduct themselves with professional decorum and integrity and desist from engaging in acts that will convey to the world, in a way, that they have been compromised to rig the election for President Buhari and the APC.
“Finally, we charge Nigerian voters, election monitors, both local and international observers, to stand firm and strong to defend the votes and voting rights of Nigerians. They should ensure that no manipulation of the electoral process is allowed and maintain the primary objective of the elections, which is that the will of the people and their votes must count,” the party spokesperson added.