2019 ELECTION : GROUP ACCUSES INEC OF TAMPERING WITH SENSITIVE ELECTION MATERIALS.
Adigun Obadara, Ilorin.
A sociopolitical organization in Kwara state, Kwara Advancement Initiative, has raised the alarm over alleged tampering of sensitive election materials meant for presidential and National Assembly elections in the state last Saturday and kept for safekeeping in the CBN.
The group in a statement signed by its leader, Kamaldeen Olanrewaju, and made available to journalists in Ilorin on Monday said that sensitive materials like the ballot papers, result sheets, and card readers, that were transported to Kwara state for the election, had allegedly been tampered with by some INEC officials in connivance with some leaders of one of the main political parties in the state.
The statement called attention of the media, observers, civil society groups and the general public to the allegations, while also calling on security agencies in the state, particularly the police to urgently conduct an investigation into the matter to ensure that justice is done.
“Kwarans should also be at alert and resist attempts by any political party and the electoral body to manipulate elections in the state. We want a free, fair and credible elections in Kwara”, he said.
Meanwhile, the INEC Director, Voter Education and Enlightenment in the state, Jacob Ayanda, described the allegation as false.
Ayanda, who said that every process of the election had been done in full glare of members of the public, political parties and media, added that these stakehokders were there when the electoral body returned the election materials to the CBN.
He said that ballot papers had not been opened because the electoral process had not got to level of being opened.
He said that the election materials were retrieved from the local government areas immediately after the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections last Saturday.
“All the political party agents, media will be there when the election materials will be taken back from the CBN again for the election purposes. It will be counted and the number and materials included would be countered checked by all stakeholders involved. There’s no secret about about it. No ballot papers has been tampered with. It’s at the polling units that the materials will be opened for all to see. Party agents will be present at every stage of the election process”, he said.
In a related development, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, has warned INEC against compromising its integrity and neutrality
in the execution of its assignment, especially in the deployment of ad-hoc staff in the state, during the forthcoming general
The Kwara APC Chairman, Hon. Bashir Bolarinwa, issued
the warning in a statement in Ilorin, Kwara
State, on Monday.
The Chairman said the party has received information that those being
posted across Kwara as Electoral Officers (EOs) and Technical Staff
were nominated and trained by a leading political party.
He also cited the case of an EO who was allegedly caught hiding boxes of ballot papers in an office in Kwara North by a vigilant DSS officer, saying that when the EO was forced to open the office by the DSS official, he admitted to hiding the boxes, but claimed it was a mistake.
”We have also been inundated with the information that the technical
staff in particular, most of whom are trained ICT experts, are known
PDP members and are under strict instructions to manipulate the card
readers in favour of the PDP.
”It is totally unacceptable that INEC, which is the umpire, will work
in cahoots with any political party or even accept a list of ad-hoc
staff from the parties. We are therefore calling on the security agencies to put all INEC staffers under strict surveillance to
forestall any attempt to compromise them. On our part, we will also
ensure that the process is not compromised by tainted staffers.
”As we have always said, we want a level playing field for all the political parties contesting the elections in the state. It is only then that the people can most freely exercise their franchise, and the party which has the support of the people will emerge victorious”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman has called on INEC to make available to all
the parties the record of the sensitive materials they will be
deploying to all local governments and wards across the state, ahead
of Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.