14th April, 2011
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Kwara State government of working to ensure that Saturday’s election in state will not be free, fair and credible, by using a carrot-and-stick strategy to arm-twist opinion leaders, in addition to intimidating the opposition.
”With two days to the election, this jittery government has called a meeting of teachers under the aegis of school headmasters (they met teachers last week), traditional rulers as well as chiefs, apparently to warn them of dire consequences if they do not vote for or mobilise support for the PDP government in the state,” ACN’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara state on Thursday.
”The arm-twisting tactics, which include the threat of sack or demotion of the teachers, traditional rulers and the chiefs in particular, is also being employed side by side with massive financial inducements of these groups,” the party said.
It described the latest act of voter intimidation through covert and overt threats as unconstitutional and a glaring example of abuse of office, which should attract tough sanctions.
The ACN said the toughest sanction that can be meted out to the PDP-controlled state government for violating the tenets of free and fair elections, is for the good people of Kwara, who have shown unrelenting support for the ACN in the face of massive intimidation and harassment, to vote out the PDP on Saturday.
”We are also using this medium to call on local and international observers to focus their attention on the remaining elections in Kwara State, and on the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure a strict monitoring and supervision of its officials in the state during the elections, especially on Saturday.
”On our part, we are documenting all the illegal and unfair tactics being employed by the state government to manipulate the votes, intimidate and disenfranchise opposition voters as well as to gain unfair advantage over other parties on Saturday,” the party said.