17th March, 2019
The All Progressives Congress (APC) says it is confident of victory in the forthcoming March 23 supplementary elections in six states as fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, APC National Publicity Secretary, expressed the confidence in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
He, however, added that the decision of INEC to hold supplementary elections, in Rivers, Bauchi, Sokoto, Kano, Plateau and Benue states was illegal.
“As a party, the APC is very confident of victory in the forthcoming supplementary elections; our commitment to free and fair elections in the country remains resolute.
“We urge INEC to ensure that all loopholes that led to rigging, vote-buying and intimidation of voters by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are blocked.
“We equally urge INEC and relevant security agencies to ensure that the supplementary election is free, peaceful and fair compared to the last inconclusive governorship election,” he said.
This, Issa-Onilu said, was especially in the state which was characterised by many irregularities including voter-intimidation, stressing that no political ambition was worth the life of any voters.
He further noted that after the March 9 governorship elections across the country, polls in affected states were declared inconclusive by the INEC.
According to him, the electoral process was also suspended in Rivers State in a very fraudulent circumstance.
He recalled that the APC had severally raised alarm over the plot by the opposition PDP to use violence, vote-buying and other election malpractices to subvert the will of the electorate and steal their mandate.
Issa-Onilu said the shocking events leading to the last-minute postponement of the presidential election provided clear evidence with PDP agents caught in different parts of the country with programmed card readers.
He said PDP agents were also caught with sensitive election materials and large cache of weapons and security paraphernalia.
“Undeterred, the PDP executed its rigging plot through its agents across the country by unleashing violence, vote-buying and hijacking election materials to rig and falsify elections results.
“The result was violent disruption in many polling areas and over voting which led to many cancelled votes and ultimately the supplementary elections and suspended exercise in some states,” Issa-Onilu said.
He noted that in Benue, INEC declared the governorship election inconclusive, citing an insufficient margin in votes obtained by the APC candidate, Mr Emmanuel Jime and the PDP candidate, Gov. Samuel Ortom, the state incumbent Governor.
INEC, he said, also reported that 41 polling units in Vandeikya did not use the card reader, as it was the case in many in Gwer-West, Gwer-East, Gboko and other places.
Issa-Onilu said a coalition of election observers in Benue had since called on INEC to declare the candidate of the APC, the winner of the polls in line with the Electoral Act, adding that the APC align with the position of the observers.
He maintained that there was no doubt that the APC candidate obtained the highest number of legitimate votes with the usage of the card reader.
In Rivers, Issa-Onilu said the APC was concerned and deeply troubled by the unfolding events in the state which it condemned in strong terms.
“This unholy alliance between Gov. Nyesom Wike, PDP and INEC is to prevent Rivers people from electing a candidate of their choice by imposing Wike, the PDP candidate on them.
“It was glaring that Wike was losing until INEC stepped in to halt the process, apparently to save him from impending defeat. INEC must put a halt to this madness and brazen illegality.
“The desperation of the PDP governorship candidate, Gov. Nyesom Wike, to remain in office even if it means destroying the state and killing its people, is throwing the state into turmoil and crisis,” Issa-Onilu said.
He added that it was on record that Wike through the Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Obo Effanga, engaged PDP card-carrying members as Local Government Area (LGA) Collation Officers to skew the elections in favour of Wike and the PDP.