7th November, 2013
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed a serious doubt on the ability of INEC to organize a free and fair gubernatorial election in the eastern Nigerian state of Anambra on 16 November, going by recent developments.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the top officials whom INEC plans to send to oversee the election are card-carrying members of the PDP, which has compromised their role as unbiased umpires.
It named the Commissioners as Mr. Lawrence Nwuruku, the National Commissioner of INEC in charge of the South-East, and Mrs. Gladys Nwafor, the second INEC Commissioner from the South-East.
”Mr. Nwuruku was the Chairman of the PDP in Ebonyi State, while Mrs. Nwafor had worked closely with First Lady Patience Jonathan as a grassroots mobilizer. These officials cannot, in all honesty, be expected to be unbiased, because they have been compromised by their antecedents.
”If INEC indeed has any hope of organizing a free, fair and transparent election in Anambra on Nov. 16th, it must immediately shelve the plan to send these highly-partisan and heavily-compromised officials to supervise the election. Any action short of that will open INEC to accusations of bias – which is not what any
umpire wants,” APC said.
The party also said some actions taken by INEC in recent times have called to question its ability to stay above the fray as far as the Anambra election is concerned.
”For example, the voters’ register for Anambra in 2011 had 2.1 million names, which came down to 1.8 million after a review. However, despite continuous registration by INEC, the names came down to 1.7 million! This kind of chicanery is only possible under a circumstance in which deliberate efforts are being made to depopulate the voters in areas where the opposition has an edge.
”We are therefore left with no choice than to call on the National Assembly to seek explanations from INEC on the hanky- panky. This is necessary to ensure that the election is not rigged by the same body saddled with ensuring that it is transparently-organized,” it said.
APC said it is closely monitoring all the processes leading to the election, since the success of any poll is not limited to actions taken on the election day alone, with a view to ensuring that no candidate is short-changed by the very body that has the responsibility to ensure a level-playing field for all.