From: Ali Abare, Gombe
Barely three days to the February 25 local government election in Gombe State, 11 opposition parties, including the All Progressives Congress (APC), have expressed their reservations over the activities of the state’s electoral body.
The parties, in a petition, signed by individual state party chairmen and made available to the media, on Wednesday, said they doubt the ability of the GOSIEC to conduct free, fair and credible election.
The 11 parties accused GOSIEC of not only arbitrarily imposing “payment of exorbitant non-refundable fees by candidates, refusing to publish register of voters” but also the “wanton disqualifications and exclusion of candidates of opposing political parties”.
” The fact that no effort has been made by the commission towards resolving or addressing any of the above issues raised and brought to its attention has made the undersigned political parties, their candidates and other stakeholders to lose confidence in the commission’s ability to conduct free, fair and credible election” the petition stated.
The petition which was copied to the state governor, security agencies in the state as well as all relevant stakeholders, said the opposition parties “will vehemently resist any attempt to truncate the fledgling democracy which is already threatened judging by the preparatory conduct of the commission”.
The parties further alleged that the GOSIEC ” does not intend to provide ballot papers, election materials and other sensitive materials in all units where election is to be conducted.”
Also, that the state government intends to “use state marshals, acclaimed repented thug, to unleash terror on voters who are sympathetic to the opposing parties.”