By Favour Goodness
No fewer that 17 political parties participating in the November 6 governorship election in Anambra state have petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission , alleging that a certain political party in the race is recruiting thugs as INEC Ad-hoc workers with aim of rigging the poll.
Their petition reads:
OPEN LETTER TO PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU, NATIONAL CHAIRMAN INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC)
On behalf of the undersigned registered political parties participating in the November 6, 2021 Governorship election in Anambra State, we wish to bring to your notice and more so, that of the general public, certain activities inimical and capable of truncating the Governorship Election in Anambra State scheduled for the 6th of November 2021 to wit:
Prior to now, specifically in February 2021, the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma was quoted in the media to have boasted… “that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would deploy all means, both seen and unseen to win the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State”. While this boast may easily be dismissed as political rhetoric and grandstanding; Governor Hope Uzodimma has uptill date not denied making the statement.
Be that as it may, of serious concern to the undersigned political parties participating in the said November 6, 2021 governorship election are the following facts and information which have come into public domain namely: –
The clandestine recruitment of INEC – Adhoc Staff for the conduct of the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for 6th November 2021, from tertiary institutions and universities domiciled in Imo State; as intelligence reports further reveal that ‘members and thugs from a particular political party’ are being issued identity cards of these tertiary institutions/university purporting them to be staff of these high institutions and of more concern is the recruitment of the Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Science and Technology Owerri (FUTO) and some staff of the University to perform the functions of Returning Officers at various stages of the said election.
Of further concern to us is the clandestine plan to move specially selected INEC staff in the category of Local Government Electoral Officers (EO’s) from other states into Anambra State to take over from Local Government Electoral Officers (EO’s) serving in Anambra State prior to the election.
As we equally find curious and most outlandish he decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use its facility in Owerri, Imo State capital for storage of (non-sensitive) materials meant for the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State… as announced through the National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, citing destruction of INEC office in Anambra State as its reason.
However after a meeting of the undersigned registered political parties participating in the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, this Friday, the 10th day of September 2021, we have resolved as follows:
Firstly, we collectively condemn and reject the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use its facility in Owerri, the Imo State capital for storage of any election materials (whether sensitive or non-sensitive) to be used for the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State… as it is clear to every discerning mind in the public domain that Imo State does not provide a better security environment than Anambra State, nor other contiguous states such as Delta and Enugu States for storage of any such election materials.
Besides in Anambra State, there is a secured branch of the Central Bank, as it is in Delta and Enugu States where such materials can be stored.
As we recall that some time ago when the INEC headquarters in Enugu was attacked and destroyed, prior to its governorship election, sensitive and non-sensitive election materials were safely stored at the branch of the Central Bank Enugu from where they were directly distributed to each Local Government Area office in Enugu.
We are therefore not convinced that both sensitive and non-sensitive election materials for the November 6, 2021 governorship election cannot be stored at the Awka branch of the Central Bank in Anambra State from where they could be moved to the INEC State Headquarters in Awka for distribution to Local Government Areas and be it known to INEC that upon official request to the Minister of Aviation these materials could be air-freighted into Anambra State through the new Anambra State International Cargo and Passenger Airport at Umueri, Anambra State.
Secondly, we condemn and reject the clandestine recruitment of any INEC adhoc staff from any institution in Imo State, as intelligence reports confirm that these staff being recruited to serve as Returning Officers, Presiding Officers and Election Staff/monitors are being screwed to benefit a particular political party; more so in the light of the aforementioned boast by Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State.
Concluding, we would wish the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to know that we the undersigned, for ourselves and on behalf of our political parties, do hereby unequivocally condemn, repudiate and reject any attempt by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use Owerri, Imo State capital as the staging-base for the rigging of the November 6, 2021 governorship election in Anambra State; as we would use everything within our means to resist any such attempt.