The African Democratic Congress (ADC) Ogun State chapter on Wednesday assessed the just concluded National Assembly and Presidential elections, saying the exercise was fraught with rigging and other electoral malpractices.
Speaking during a Press briefing held in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, the Director-General of Gboyega Nasir Isiaka Campaign Organization (GNICO), Engr. Tony Ojeshina, described the polls as “an elaborate charade,” warning that the electoral fraud recorded in the Presidential and national assembly elections should not be repeated in the March 9 governorship and House of Assembly polls
Ojeshina lamented that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies watched as anti-democratic forces had their way during the polls adding that it was unfortunate that the party’s earlier warning about planned rigging of the elections was not heeded.
According to him, compromised ad-hoc staff loyal to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and its offshoot, Allied People’s Movement (APM) were used in many polling booths across the state.
He alleged that fake police officers and fake youth corps members were also used in many polling booths, adding that there was multiple voting in many locations.
He further claimed that there were deliberate discrepancies in the numbers of ballot papers distributed to some local governments when compared to the numbers from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which was the state distribution centre.
Ojeshina said, “Two prominent examples include Imeko-Afon local government missing a total of 6,050 ballot papers and Ajilete ward in Yewa-South local government missing 5,500. In the case of Imeko-Afon, it took sustained media agitation and harassment of the state Resident Electoral Commissioner before supplementary ballot papers were brought to remedy the tense situation.
“For Ajilete, the missing ballot papers were never recovered; and after intense pressure, they brought 3,000 ballot papers from another location that did not have same serial numbers with that of Ajilete – which we rejected and got the AEO to sign an undertaking to discount the missing 5,500 and vote with the leftover.
“Voting was stopped in some locations due to dried ink as voters were incapable of thumb-printing any longer. There are recorded incidences of voting in certain booths without card readers working; contrary to provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and INEC guidelines.
“Another very unfortunate recorded malfeasance include the thuggery at Ipokia local government where a particular candidate that felt he must win that local government deployed thugs to unleash mayhem in many polling booths; chasing away many voters who fled for safety; and in the process, a police officer was shot dead while many sustained injuries. There was also sporadic shooting at Laderin estate; as early as 4:30 a:m; a ploy used to scare away voters.
“As a responsible party and campaign organization, we are not raising red herring or crying foul where there is none but our disappointment and disapproval of this process stems from the fact that we saw it ahead, cried out, yet INEC and the security apparatus ware handicapped while antidemocratic forces had their way.”
Ojeshina, who stated that the stakes in the next election are high and the opposition will be more determined to up their rigging plans, however, declared that the ADC would not tolerate fraud in the coming polls.
Also speaking, the state ADC Secretary, Chief Niyi Salako, said required evidence are being gathered from the field to determine whether the party would challenge the election results in court.
He said, “In not too distant future, we will make another statement about whether to reject the election results or not.
“This election was not won. This election in Ogun State was bought. There was intimidation and all sorts of rigging. We will resist this with everything we’ve got in the governorship election.”
Salako urged people of the state to vote the ADC gubernatorial candidate, Gboyega Isiaka, saying he remains the most competent and credible personality to succeed incumbent Governor Ibikunle Amosun.