JOHN ADAMS MINNA
A top traditional ruler in Niger State has raised the alarm over buying of PVCs by politicians, revealing that the conduct is taking place right in his domain.
The Emir of Lapai, Alhaji Umar Mohammad Bago, disclosed this in Minna on Monday in a message to the stakeholders’ interactive session organised for the royal fathers in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The monarch who was represented by the Maiyakin Lapai, Alhaji Abubakar Sulaiman, said political parties were using their surrogates to purchase the PVCs from their owners.
Alhaji Bago shocked the gathering when he disclosed that each PVC was being bought at N10,000 from registered voters in his domain.
“The syndicate move from ward to ward in the emirate; they buy each PVC for as low as N10,000 or in some cases N5,000
“After privileged information, we immediately informed the security agencies and three members of the syndicate have been arrested”
The National INEC commissioner in the zone, Professor Anthonia Simbine, who presided over the stakeholders’ forum did not make any comment on the arrest but said only the original owners of PVCs could use them, adding that the plan by those buying the voter’s card was to disenfranchise voters in areas where they were not popular.
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It would be recalled that the State Chairman of the PDP Alhaji Tanko Beji, had during one of the zonal campaigns of the party raised the alarm that the ruling APC had completed arrangements to rig the 2019 general elections, saying that the party had discovered a house in Minna where machines were installed to clone PVCs.
The chairman of the state council of traditional rulers in the state and Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, in a message to the forum, pledged the support and cooperation of the traditional institution in the state to INEC to ensure the success of the general election.
Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar who was represented by the Wambai Nupe, Alhaji Aliyu Ndagi, however, told INEC to immediately find a solution to envisaged long queues being experienced during the elections and the problems associated with distribution of PVCs to all registered voters.
“This is a very important time in our lives and in the life of our country; this is the time to elect those that will govern us; INEC must do everything possible to ensure the election is free fair, transparent and acceptable to every stakeholder
” Good and acceptable elections start with the delivery of PVCs; whatever the situation is, INEC should deliver the PVCs to their rightful owners as quickly as possible,” the Etsu Nupe said
The monarch also said that security must be perfect for ” votes and voters” so that no one was intimidated either before, during or after the election.
Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar declared: “All traditional are seriously backing you we will support you to ensure you succeed”
Earlier the National Commissioner Professor Anthonia Simbine and the state Resident Electoral Commissioner Professor Sam Egwu have told the forum the preparations made so far to achieve a fee and fair polls next month and in the governorship election in March.