Except the unusual happens, the outcome of the coming elections in Nigeria, is not likely to count. What is currently filtering into the open from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) tends to be giving credence to the worrisome allegation by the opposition that the ruling party has been compromising the electoral body.
Bank accounts of INEC Returning Officers are allegedly being fattened by the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party allegedly directed returning officers to submit their bank account details for a cash bazaar to enable them play ball in favour of the party.
Before now, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, had accused Abuja and the APC of plotting to manipulate the election in the state in favour of Gboyega Oyetola, who was eventually declared as the governor of the state.
Adeleke who spoke through his campaign Media Director, Olawale Rasheed, alleged last September that APC took what he described as ‘’brazen subversive decisions and steps’’ targeted at undermining the will of the people of Osun long before the election day.
Very recently, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, took on President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC, accusing them of compromising INEC to rig the coming 2019 general elections.
The opposition insinuated that the money may have been sourced from funds meant for the purchase of weapons for the armed forces fighting the festering insurgency in the North-East axis of the country.
PDP expressed the worry that the Buhari administration has blatantly refused to respond to allegations that military fund is being used to finance President Buhari’s re-election campaign ‘’which even manifested in the use of military resources to produce APC’s campaign materials, including an electronic momento book by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali.’’
In a text message said to be sent to INEC returning officers by APC, the party allegedly directed all returning officers to submit two passport photographs and a specimen of their signature to the state secretariats of the ruling party.
The party was expected to commence the collection of the bank details by 8:30am this past January 29.
The text message however, reads: ‘’Greetings! Pls You are to submit 2 passport photograph and a specimen of your signature to the State Secretary APC Bayelsa State at the Party Secretariat, #382 Mbiama/Yenagoa Road opp, IBTC Bank, kpansia by 8:30am January 29 as you are listed for the INEC Returning Officer.’’
When contacted, the Bayelsa wing of the APC declined comment. But a player of the party in the state who did not want his name in print said the matter was a national ‘’programme’’ of the party.
INEC had previously boasted that she will not hesitate to discipline any staff found to have betrayed public trust during the 2019 general election. The Public Affairs Officer of the electoral body in Akwa Ibom State, Don Etukudo, gave the warning in a statement in Uyo, the state capital before the Christmas holidays.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that reported this quoted Etukudo as urging INEC staff to ensure that the commission is able to deliver free, fair and credible election to the people of the state in line with its mandate.