*Says Lagos electoral heists were foretold
Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has blamed the hierarchy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for spending the entire four years since the last 2019 general election preparing for the February 25th 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections only to churn out a shambolic, criminally manipulated and anything but a credible, free, fair and transparent election.
HURIWA said it was manifestly unambiguous that the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission especially in Lagos, Kano and Rivers State were bought over by the respective desperately greedy governments of those States to enable the heaviest heist of election results to be perfected by the All Progressives Congress with the aim of achieving a contrive victory for the Central ruling All Progressives Congress whose Presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu enjoyed the services of heavily armed thugs who snatched away many ballots boxes, harass, intimidated and violently attacked voters perceived to have voted or intend to vote for the Labour Party. HURIWA condemned the police commissioner in Kano for encouraging underage voting and even unabashedly stating on public television watched around the World that the thousands of underage voters seen on television suffer from DNA deformity as if the police commissioner is a medical expert.
HURIWA blames the hierarchy of the electoral commission in Abuja for letting these shenanigans and brazen criminalities especially in Lagos and Rivers States to take place even when serious alarms were raised and early warnings issued about the compromised posture of the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos who even called Igbo residents of Lagos as immigrant voters.
“It is so clear that INEC may have been working on a pre-arranged agenda in Lagos and Rivers States to particularly allow the Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s sympathiser in Rivers Governor Wike, and government of Lagos State to use paid soldiers and police to harass and chase away voters wanting to vote for the Labour Party’s Presidential candidate Mr.Peter Obi. HURIWA supports the call for outright cancellation of the results from Lagos and Rivers states for being irredeemably manipulated and stolen.
HURIWA further queried the INEC for spending so much public funds with the intention of deploying 500,000 security operatives but the Rights group said from evidences that were made abundantly clear during the conduct of the election on Saturday 25th February 2023, it is apparent that the Independent National Electoral Commission may have hired 500,000 political thugs for the All Progressives Congress rather than deploy real security operatives which accounts for why there were lots of bloody violence and attacks of voters who supported other Presidential candidates than that of the All Progressives Congress.
HURIWA asked the INEC officials to cover their faces in shame for actually talking so much about organising a credible poll long time before the actual election only for INEC to deliver what is obviously the most shambolic poll and most officials of INEC especially in Lagos and Rivers States behaved like operatives of a sophisticated organised crime network.
“We in HURIWA condemns the security agencies for allowing armed hoodlums suspected to be supporters of a political party in Akwa Ibom State to inflict matchet cuts on two voters before carting away with one Bimodal Voter Accreditation System for polling units 11 and 12 at Oniong West Ward one in Onna Local Government Area of the state. The source said, “Some hoodlums stormed units 11 and 12 at Oniong West Ward one in Onna Local government Area of the state and hijacked one BVAS. They inflicted matchet cuts on two of their victims before escaping into the bush. The victims have been taken to the hospital in Onna LGA for treatment. The chairman of Onna LGA, Mr Iniabasi Ekanem, who confirmed the incident.”
HURIWA condemns the poor or deliberately criminal action of omitting logos of certain parties other than the All Progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party just as the Rights the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) suspending the election in the Esan and Igueben federal constituency in Edo State, is an admission of the apparent inefficiency or outright conspiracy by the electoral umpire to put some parties in the way of disadvantage just as the Rights group said it witnessed in Abuja that the name of Labour party was omitted in the ballots unlike other parties and wondered what kind of apartheid policy was that.”
HURIWA recalled that INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu disclosed as follows: “In Edo State, we had a situation that we handled yesterday (Friday), one of the parties whose acronym is on the score sheet but the logo is not on the ballot paper in a federal constituency.After meeting with the stakeholders, a decision was taken since the materials are intact. So, we have suspended the election for Esan North, Esan South and Igueben.
“The ballot papers will be reprinted and elections will now hold with the constituency elections in the next two weeks.”
HURIWA recalled too with shock and disappointment that INEC also suspended the election in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital over electoral violence and the absence of voting materials even as INEC’s Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said thus: “We have a situation in Bayelsa, particularly in the capital, Yenagoa where in four wards – Wards 4, 6, 8 and 14, involving 140 polling units in the process was disrupted.
“We remobilised security. The situation is calm for us to proceed with the process but the youth corps members expressed some apprehension about going back.
“We met with the security agencies and we have decided that voting will take place tomorrow (Sunday) morning.”
HURIWA said contrary to the avowed statement of Professor Mahmood Yakubu who ‘assured’ Nigerians that INEC is determined to ensure that no Nigerian is disenfranchised, it was evidently captured on cameras and viral videos including statements of confirmation by the victims that INEC in Lagos and Rivers State looked away and allowed armed soldiers and police to infiltrate certain polling units and chase away all those who confirmed that they would vote for Peter Obi of Labour party.
HURIWA wondered why armed security operatives would intimidate and force the prospective voters to confirm who they intend to vote for and if they confirmed LABOUR PARTY, they are immediately physically harassed and disenfranchised.
HURIWA however commend INEC for suspending the senatorial election in Enugu East Senatorial District over the killing of the Labour Party (LP)’s senatorial candidate for the district, Oyibo Chukwu.
The commission said the party will replace the deceased candidate and the election will now hold in the district on March 11. HURIWA however expressed lack of belief in the determination of the security forces to arrest the real killers since they appear to have sponsored by a big man who has a lot of connections with the powers that be in Abuja.