By Magnus Effiong
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Cross River state has accused some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and special unit of the Nigerian Police of conniving with members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to rig Saturday, February 26, 2022 by-election in Ogoja/Yala federal constituency.
Chairman of the party in the State, Vena Ikem, who said this in Calabar, Tuesday, during a press conference claimed that the PDP won the by-election only for the special unit of the Police, under the control of the State government, to unleash mayhem on voters, cart away election materials and thumprint ballot papers in favour of the APC.
The party demanded that INEC should provide Bi-modal Voter Accreditation (BIVA) machines used in the polls which, it said, would show the number of accredited voters.
“The by-election was characterized by massive irregularities including violence orchestrated by the APC led government and her officials who snatched ballot boxes and other election materials at will at gun point and manipulated the results to their advantage,” the PDP alleged.
It demanded the disbandment of the Special Police unit, Sting of the Operation Akpakwu, which the party said is used for thuggery and political purposes.
“Most importantly, We demand that INEC should produce all BVA machines used for the election to ascertain if the accreditation recorded in the machines corresponds with the number of votes declared by the Returning Officer in the February 26 by-election,” the party stated.
The PDP further urged INEC to investigate itself, alleging that INEC staff in charge of the IT unit in Calabar interfered with the BVAs, and that INEC claimed that 5 units were missing before the election only for the missing BVAs to resurface at election centres.
It also pointed accusing fingers at INEC National Commissioner, Festus Okoye, and demanded that he should not be sent for any election duty in Cross River.
“We reject in totality the results announced by the Returning officer in the Saturday 26th February by-election for the Federal House of Representatives seat forOgoja/Yala in which the APC candidate was wrongfully declared a winner because he did not score the majority of valid votes cast in that election,” it submitted.
The PDP thereafter presented footages of gun-weilding men, porpurted to use government vehicles to supervise the carting away of election materials while shooting sporadically.
In one of the footages, the party said it could identify some government officials who were seen thumprinting on ballot papers.
By Magnus Effiong