*Promises free and fair polls

 

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, ProfessorAttahiru Jega, has admitted the circulation of fake voters’ cards in Edo State,two days to the July 14 governorship election.

The INEC Chairman made the admission in Benin City, yesterday,at a stakeholders’ meeting organized for governorship candidates by theelectoral body. Also in attendance were the Inspector General of Police, Mr.Mohammed Abubakar, and the Commander of the Fourth Brigade of the Nigerian Army,Brigadier-General Abel Umahi.

The INEC Chairman, who expressed disappointment at thedesperation of some of the candidates in the election, observed that the laminatedcards tendered in evidence by the governorship candidate of the Action Congressof Nigeria (ACN), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, were a bold attempt to clone theoriginal, but noted the forgers did not succeed in capturing the security featuresas well.

Comrade Oshiomhole who tendered the fake cards had told theINEC Chairman that the cards were seized from some agents of the oppositionparty who are now reportedly in police custody.

On the source, Jega said the fake cards may have been clonedfrom the INEC registers presented to the parties some weeks ago.

Said he: “From what I’veseen now, looking at these cards before me, I can confirm that they are fake.And I believe these is as a result of an abuse of privilege because we had madecopies of the voters’ register available to all the parties. What thesecriminals have simply done is to clone from the voter register we madeavailable to the public. But let me assure the public that the cards I’ve seencan not in any way be used at our polling units because our polling officershave been trained to look out for the special PIN numbers and other securityfeatures in the valid voter register which will be used on the day of election.”

According to Jega, to ensure free and fair polls, the ballotboxes that will be used for the election have special security features whichwill make it impossible to be diverted from one local government to the other,saying the measure will deter ballot box snatching.

Speaking earlier, Governor Oshiomhole had also alerted thathe had credible intelligence that fake army and police uniforms were being sewnby the PDP with which their agents would be clothed on rgw election day to disruptthe polls in some areas.

Speaking in similar vein, the ANPP candidate, Chief SolomonEdebiri, urged the Inspector-General of Police to make the names of thesecurity agents who will be at various polling units public to identify genuinesecurity agents.

In his response, the I-G assured that his men were on thealert to deal with any impostors.

The stakeholders session was attended by theDirectors-General of the campaign organizations of the seven candidates as wellas the candidates themselves.