PDP issued a statement few days ago accusing INEC of secretly recruiting 4000 APC members as election observers. The party alleged that INEC plots to use these ‘fake observers’ to endorse false election results. It threatened that it will mobilize its ‘massive supporters ‘ in the state to resist this alleged rigging plot.
It asked INEC to withdraw the accredited ‘fake observers ‘ and to allow stakeholders, especially political parties contesting in the July 14 governorship election to participate in the process of selecting new election observers.
It has been the preoccupation of PDP to haul accusations of one plot after another to rig the 2019 general elections against INEC often claiming that the electoral body is working in cahoots with APC.
Governor Wike of Rivers State, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti and the PDP leadership have been at the fore front of these often wide, unsubstantiated and diversionary accusations.
I can vouch that the current INEC Chairman I have met at several CSO / Media briefings with the INEC Chairman and who has repeatedly expressed his commitment to ensuring free, fair and credible general election in 2019 harbors no plan to rig any election. He has actually said he’s concerned about history.
I can’t vouch for APC. But this is a discussion for another day.
Now, I’m seriously concerned about the clear threat to the safety of accredited Independent Election Observers for the Ekiti and Osun elections.
I’m surprised that PDP is even talking about plots to rig elections when the memories of the incidents before,during and after the 2015 governorship election that brought Fayose to office are still fresh in our memories.
One of the military personnel deployed for that election was heard on record revealing how the election was rigged and those involved, including Obanikoro who testified against Fayose and later returned 100 million naira – his own share of the proceeds of that electoral crime -to the state coffers before defecting to the APC.
Security authorities must take seriously the threat to the safety of accredited election observers for the Ekiti and Osun elections.
The power and responsibility to accredit election observers is exclusively that of INEC. I wonder why PDP now wants to participate in the selection of election observers.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, is the National
Coordinator of the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria