28th November, 2013
Armed soldiers and policemen deployed around the Abuja headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, this morning prevented leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from registering their grievances over the Anambra governorship election debacle with the electoral body.
The hundreds of protesters, including the acting National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former head of state, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Ogbonaya Onu, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, national assembly members, were stopped fifty meters away from the INEC office by the armed security men.
The protesters had marched from the APC headquarters at Wuse 2, Abuja towards the INEC with posters denouncing the Anambra governorship election and asking INEC to cancel it.Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
The opposition All Progressive Congress on Thursday carried out a protest march at the headquarters of the Independent National Election Commission, INEC, in Abuja calling for the outright cancellation of the November 16th and 17th Anambra state governorship election which the electoral body had declared inconclusive.
The protest was however marred by the heavy presence of security operatives from the Nigeria Police Force as well as heavily armed soldiers who dispersed the protesters and foiled what was planned to be a major protest.
Chaos and pandemonium characterized the protest with members of the party scampering for their lives amidst the activities of the security personnel who strove to forestall the breakdown of law and order at the premises of the INEC Headquarters.
Documents circulated during the protest by the APC members include a letter signed by the National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, to the Chairman of the electoral commission and titled: Anambra State Governorship Election: Call To Save Our Democracy.
Chief Akande pointed out that prior to the date for the Anambra state election, that there were ominous signs that the election was pre-determined to favour specific interests against the run of the electorate support which he claimed, were were already clear.
” When our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) noticed these foreboding signs; we immediately drew the attention of the electoral umpire and the whole world to them. The issues, which our party complained about through official correspondences and various press releases, are several. These include: The unholy conspiracy between the electoral umpire (INEC) and the presidency/PDP to rig the Elections to rig the election in favor of APGA. Mass disenfranchisement of voters through use of multiple voters registers,
Deliberate delay in the distribution of electoral materials in the opposition strongholds, the disappearance of electoral officials and result sheets meant for opposition strongholds, the sudden creation of about 3,000 voting units, of which our polling Agents did not receive Tags, the unconstitutional 22-hour curfew, which was a ploy to give the riggers the leeway to actualize their rigging plans while the vigilance of the Electorate was inhibited by the curfew already in place and the unlawful deployment and use of the military during election and purely civil activities”
He also pointed out the party’s complaint about the Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu and other Federal Commissioners who had proven to be biased through his conduct in previous elections and lamented that despite INEC getting information of these complaints and the commission’s assurance that APC’s fears were founded,
the commission went ahead to conduct an election that was grossly below any acceptable standard, whether local or international.
Akande posited that the deliberate tactic to prevent democracy and serve the interests of the PDP and particularly APGA, as seen in Anambra state, cannot be democratic and in the voters’ interest and called on INEC to cancel the election.
“The only face saving decision for you and your commission in this circumstance is to cancel the charade, which you want to reinforce of the electorate as a credible election. We cannot gloat over the dangerous signs and the gathering storms that portend a coup d’etat against the yearnings and aspirations of our people”
The party gave reasons for its call for the outright cancelation of the election. Some of these include;
The Manipulation of the October 12th Delta Central Senatorial District bye- election.
The refusal of INEC to conclude the election started since July 29th 2013 in the re-run election to the Imo State of Assembly in Oguta, in spite of the fact that there was a clear winner.
The abnormality displayed in the State House of Assembly by-election in Ringim Constituency of Jigawa state.
The danger that the shenanigans, the conspiracy and the subversion of the will of the people signifies to our democracy as well as the question the generations’ yet unborn will ask and their judgment if we refuse to do what is right to arrest the drift of our nation to the straits of destruction which have dire consequence for our people.
In a flashback into Nigeria’s political history, the party noted that the subversion of the will of the people has always ended in a catastrophe for our nation, thereby drawing back our quest for development and pointed out the collapse of the first and second republic political experiments as indicative of the dangerous path the country is treading once again.
Chief Akande while justifying his party’s call for the cancellation of the election noted that the 2011 National Assembly Elections were cancelled due to the failure of INEC to achieve the right parameters for a credible electio and argued that if INEC could cancel an election that has already commenced and voting was ongoing due to flaws in that electoral process, that Jega’s claims that INEC does not have the authority to cancel an election that it had acknowledged as flawed, “messed up and sabotaged” cannot be sustained.
“The observed flaws in the election were deliberately planned as a strategic conspiracy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the Anambra Governorship election in favour of their surrogate party, the PDP faction of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). With your acknowledgement of these far reaching vitiating factors, your grandstanding to uphold the outcome of the flawed election and your haste to conduct what you call a supplementary election, without first correcting the innate flaws in the electoral process is unacceptable”
He also stated that his party has lost confidence in the ability of INEC as it stands today to organize a free, fair and transparent election anywhere in Nigeria if the Anambra style is repeated and requested for an outright cancellation of the Anambra Election, having been marred by serious irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
“INEC should discard the present fake multiple voters register and produce one authentic voters register that will not disenfranchise any voter and be published 30 days before any election can take place in Anambra state.
The suspension and prosecution of all officials of the commission who have ever been indicted for electoral perfidy to purge the commission of such compromised officials and the immediate redeployment and investigation of the current Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu”
.Reported by Felix Nnamdi and Femi Ipaye/Abuja