Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) alleged, yesterday, that most Ad-hoc Independent National Electoral Staff Commission (INEC) staff in states controlled by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are card-carrying members of the opposition party.
The party also urged security agencies in custody of persons arrested with printed and already prepared result sheets during last week’s aborted presidential and National Assembly elections, in some parts of the country, to keep them out of circulation until investigations are concluded.
Reading a communique at the end of an emergency APC national caucus meeting in Abuja, yesterday, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, maintained that regardless of party affiliations, those arrested must face the full wrath of the law.
“There have been unverified reports of people who have been caught with printed and already prepared result sheets in some parts of the country. We were informed that some of these people have been handed over to the police and we urged them not to release any one of them; regardless of his political party or the interest he represents.
“Anyone caught in custody of these materials, which ought to be in the custody of INEC, once apprehended, the police should ensure that they are kept out of circulation until they are able to investigate and prosecute such people.
“We were shocked to observe that, in many states where the PDP has governors, many of the ad-hoc staff INEC deployed are card-carrying members of the PDP.
“This is unfortunate. INEC has a duty to screen and to ensure that those deployed as ad-hoc staff that will function as collation officers are not members of any political party.
“We urge INEC to review this situation and make the appropriate corrections,” he said.
Oshiomhole added: “We reviewed our campaigns across the country and noted that in spite of the obvious security challenges which we are all familiar with, there was no single incident of terrorist attack or any violent attack in any of those rallies across the country. Not only by APC, but by all the parties that participated in campaigns.
“However, APC deeply regret the death of many of her supporters who demonstrated so much passion, love and commitment to the candidature if President Muhammadu Buhari. As a result of the many people that turned out in some of those locations, some people died as a result of stampede and suffocation.
“We also reviewed the shocking announcement by INEC and the subsequent explanation by the Chairman. Even after listening to those stories and explanations, the national caucus condemns the way in which INEC managed the process.
“We reiterate the fact that INEC had four years to plan for this election.
“They rolled out the time table on their own and ought to have foresaw what to expect, know possible source of challenges and take appropriate steps to arrest unforeseen situations.
“Having conducted elections in this country since 1999, in 2019, INEC cannot give excuses because there is nothing new that we have not experienced since 1999.
“Unfortunately, in spite of the huge resources which INEC asked for, which the National Assembly appropriated and which the Executive released to them, they subjected us to this huge embarrassment.
“By that action alone, a lot of our country men and women are completely disillusioned.
“The caucus is worried about the preparedness of INEC; to ensure that the new date is sacrosanct.
“We urge INEC and Nigerians to encourage INEC to do what it has to do to ensure that there is no more excuse.
“The ballot papers must be delivered on time; every material needed for the election must get to their location, not later 8:00am, when the elections should start.
“After postponing this election, materials must arrive on time and voting must commence all over the country; at the same time. We believe that election must start at the same time nation wide. We are opposed to staggered elections.”