…We’re too busy for such —INEC
By Dapo Akinrefon & Yinka Ajayi
LAGOS—THE Jimi Agbaje Campaign Organisation, JACO, yesterday, accused officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of allegedly colluding with the All Progressives Congress, APC, to disenfranchise non-indigenes resident in Lagos.
JACO alleged that INEC personnel, acting the script, were undertaking discriminatory distribution of PVCs by withholding the cards of non-indigenes largely suspected of being unsympathetic to ruling party.
But in a swift reaction, INEC dismissed the allegations saying it does not have time to engage in such method.
Although the organisation commended INEC for extending the collection of PVCs to Monday, it said that the extension would make no meaning should officials themselves become a stumbling block to an identified set of voters.
Describing the trend as immoral, illegal and xenophobic, JACO demanded that the commission should wade into the matter, restore normalcy and bring perpetrating officials to book.
A statement by JACO’s Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Felix Oboagwina, said the organisation was daily inundated with reports from aggrieved members of the public, alarmed that non-indigenes living in local governments where the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, may enjoy massive support were being denied their PVCs by INEC personnel.
The statement reads: “These unscrupulous INEC workers deny cards to potential and duly registered voters whose names do not sound Yoruba or Hausa. Our fear is that at the end of the day, these unclaimed PVCs will be used to do proxy-voting for APC or end up in the lagoon or refuse dump.”
“We are witnessing a xenophobic, discriminatory and dangerous move by these INEC officials. They have embarked on a voyage of illegality. The Nigerian Constitution says that no one should be discriminated against on the basis of sex, status or tribe. But these xenophobic, discriminatory and nepotistic officials have undertaken to violate these provisions against their own good conscience and against the Electoral Act and the Nigerian Constitution.
“However, whenever they show up like other people to collect their PVCs, the officials take a look at the names on their PVCs, and where they are neither Yoruba nor Hausa names; they are told that their cards did not come with the pile being distributed at the time.
“We are not comfortable with the situation,” the statement said. “It appears like part of a grand plan by these officials to ensure APC falsely has a good result in their areas by all means.”
We’re too busy for such—INEC
Reacting to the allegations, INEC challenged Mr. Agbaje to show proof of the allegations.
Spokesperson of the Commission in Lagos, Mr. Femi Akinbiyi berated the PDP candidate saying: “It is not true. When do we have such time to separate indigenes and non indigenes? We are too busy for such. Newsmen can verify it themselves.”