Nasarawa Bye-elections: INEC must not rig for APC, warns APGA

INEC boss, Mahmood Yakubu

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resist every temptation to rig today’s Nasarawa Bye Elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

INEC had fixed May 28, 2016 (today) for Bye Elections into the Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency Seat made vacant by the death of Hon. Musa Onwana of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In a statement by Alphonsus Ega, APGA Director of Publicity for Nasarawa state, the party alleged that the ruling APC was mounting severe pressure on INEC officials in Nasarawa State to rig the Bye elections against the popular wish of the electorate.

The party notes that the APGA candidate, Dr. Joseph Ogbere, is the most popular and generally accepted candidate in the constituency and is set to win the Bye Elections hence the desperate attempts by ruling APC in Nasarawa State to manipulate the elections “It is common knowledge in Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency that our candidate, Dr. Joseph Ogbere is the most popular candidate in the contest and will record a landslide victory if elections are free and fair. The ruling APC government in the state has performed woefully and therefore lost the goodwill of the people,” said Ega. The party alleged that APC is faced with imminent defeat in the Bye Elections and is desperately seeking to rig the elections.

“They know that they don’t stand a chance in Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency and have therefore resolved to stop at nothing to rig the elections. Yesterday, we got reports that they have approached INEC to substitute list of ad hoc staff with their own list of party members. They have also hired thugs to disrupt elections in APGA strongholds Odu, Loko, Tunga, Bakono, Onda Kana, Ara 2 and all wards in Afor.”

“We therefore call on INEC to resist every temptation or inducement by the APC to manipulate the Bye Elections in their favour. The party further cautioned that “the bad governance of Gov. Tanko Al Makura has made APC very unpopular in the state and any attempt to undermine the wishes of the electorate in the Bye Election may be the last straw that would break the back of tolerance of the people.”

The three major political parties in the state namely APC, APGA and PDP presented candidates for the Bye Election and are locked in a fierce battle for who replaces the vacant seat in the House of Representatives.

In the past few weeks, the constituency has been agog with campaigns and political rallies as the candidates prepare for a contest that many stakeholders have come to agree will define the political landscape of Nasarawa State ahead of 2019.

Nasarawa/Toto is one of the biggest federal constituencies in the state and is very strategic for all the political parties. It consists of two local government areas, 27 Electoral wards, 256 polling units and a total of 207, 448 registered voters.

The constituency is made up of five ethnic groups- Afor, Gbagyi, Agatu, Hausa/Fulani, and Bassa. Sources say APGA is in a pole position to win the contest given that the party fielded a candidate from the most dominant ethnic Afor while the APC and PDP fielded from the minority.

It is said that majority of the Afors feel marginalised in the scheme of things and are now determined to have their son represent them in the Federal House of Representatives.

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