The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has warned that any attempt to
rig the July 14th gubernatorial election in
Edo State will trigger a chain of cataclysmic reactions, the end of
which no one can predict.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity
Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said
the warning became necessary in view of the desperation of the PDP to
capture Edo State at all cost, first as a trophy
for its new Chairman who is bent on ensuring his party wins the first
election under his chairmanship, and also as a
foothold for the President’s presumed ambition for 2015.
It said events leading to the election have shown that the PDP is bent
on creating an atmosphere that will be hostile to the
holding of a free, fair and transparent poll.
ACN therefore called on its members and supporters in Edo State to
resist any attempt by the PDP to rig the forthcoming
poll, saying they must not only turn out en masse to vote for Gov.
Adams Oshiomhole, on the basis of his performance in office,
but must also stay behind until the votes have been counted and the
result announced, contrary to the ‘vote and go’ rigging
strategy of the PDP.
”In the years since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999, the
PDP has evolved from bare-faced rigging on election
day to a new system in which the ruling party, in collusion with
malleable and unpatriotic security agencies, makes free and
fair elections impossible by intimidating the opposition and
instigating violence ahead of voting, thus paving the way for the
imposition of a ‘curfew’ on election day that will ensure voters only
come out to vote and return home, handing the PDP and
its cohorts in INEC and security agencies a carte blanche to determine
the outcome of the voting.
”Already, the trend is glaring: At least two attempts have been made
on the life of Gov. Oshiomhole, first when a truck
rammed his convoy and killed many after narrowly missing him, and then
last week when suspected political thugs
attacked the Governor, top government officials and ACN stalwarts in
Usen town. Add that to the cold-blooded killing of
the Governor’s Principal Private Secretary Olaitan Oyerinde, and the
evil machinations against the Governor and his party
begin to manifest.
”The strategy is simple: Go after the Governor and scare off his
teeming supporters, and then hope they will fight back, thus
precipitating chaos that will then be capitalized upon by the PDP
federal government to declare a curfew, at best, and a state
of emergency, at worst. But while we urge our members and supporters
to be peaceful and to resist playing into the hands of the
PDP, they must be vigilant, they must know that it is against the
Electoral Act for anyone to ask them to leave the polling
station after voting. They must not leave until the votes have been
counted and the results announced,” the party said.
ACN said what happened in 2011 must not be allowed to repeat itself,
when gullible international observers, after witnessing a
seemingly orderly process in which patriotic voters queued and cast
their votes, then returned to their hotels to declare the elections
free and fair, without witnessing the events at the collation centres
where most of the rigging took place.
The party said the PDP is even more emboldened to manipulate elections
now, knowing full well that it has almost emasculated
the judiciary, which gave respite to some of the candidates who were
robbed in the previous elections, and also because it has
muscled through a constitutional amendment that prevents robbed
candidates from getting justice after 180 days.
It advised President Goodluck Jonathan to pull the brakes on the
runaway rigging train of his party before it derails the nation’s
under his watch.
”If the PDP is as popular and acceptable to Nigerians as it claims,
why is it afraid of a free and fair election? If President Jonathan
believes his party is the only truly national party that can meet the
yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, why is he unwilling to call
his party to order now that it is bent on pushing the nation into the
abyss of violence through election rigging?” ACN queried.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
Lagos, July 1st 2012