Saturday, 28 June 2014

EKITI POLLS: Rights group wants probe of INEC ballot papers

The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) has said via a report released on Friday that it want a public inquiry on the nature of ballot papers used for the June 21 Ekiti gubernatorial polls, so as to ascertain or disprove claims that the papers were photochromic papers programmed to skew the victory to the governor-elect, Mr Ayo Fayose “We call for a public inquiry on the nature of ballot papers used. The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) needs to regain dwindling confidence arising from reports that the ballot papers were programmed to favour the PDP. This needs to be done before the next gubernatorial election in Osun State. We call on Nigerians to push for a public inquiry so as to regain public confidence,” The group stated. The rights group whose affiliate members monitored the election in the report which was signed by Mr Ariyo Olu Bolade raised crucial issues on the Ekiti June 21 gubernatorial election. They said though the people of Ekiti have accepted the result of the poll in good faith, several flaws classified the election processes below best global practices. According to reports from Nigerian Politics Online, NHRC observed that the run-up to the elections was characterized by the imposition of a state of siege, terror and gross violations of the right to movement, noting that the number of security agents deployed to the state was unnecessary “The population of security personnel deployed to Ekiti during the election was unnecessary. There was a show of force across the streets and institutionalized gangsterism by security officials. Soldiers who should be involved only in war and external aggression took over the streets, towns and villages under-scoring the directive of the Vice President Namadi Sambo who had equated the Ekiti election with war,” the report stated. The group said that the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) top officials were reported to have been sighted in Akure with ballot papers while 11 people were arrested at Afao-Ekiti in a resort owned by Mr Dipo Anisulowo, the Director of Campaign of the PDP candidate, Mr Ayodele Fayose. These critical reports on the heels of the election are yet to be investigated. The group also stated “this election marks a significant moral low. People cast their votes under siege. Leaders of opposition were arrested and detained. People were killed in the heat of the campaign,” the group said. “For the records, many of the political parties, especially that of the PDP, Mr Ayo Fayose campaigned without concrete programmes of socio- economic development, no defined programme on health, environment and no economic blue print. Some of the political parties were fully backed by a powerful Federal might and the candidate of the PDP and the party’s leaders enjoyed conscious protection by armed State Security agents. If anything, this is a pre 20th century standard. On future elections, the NHRC urged the Federal Government to make transparent and involve political stakeholders in the contracting of sensitive electoral materials saying that this has raised serious doubts on the quality and character of the ballot papers used fuelling widespread speculations that the ballot papers were cloned ab initio to ensure the victory of the PDP. The fact that PDP leaders boasted and even taunted the figures later released, weeks before the election further confirm the speculations that the election was programmed to criminalize the voting population. NHRC urges the opposition political parties to compel the Federal government to set up a panel of inquiry which will involve international observers so as to determine the kind of ink and ballot papers used and whether there was high – tech fraud implanted right from the embryonic stated of the whole electoral process with a predetermined poll outcome

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