By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and stalwarts of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of planning to rig the August 9 governorship election in Osun state.
This accusation was contained in a statement released on Saturday, 2nd August, 2014 by APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed of the APC and made available to newsmen in Lagos.
According to the party, it has discovered devilish plan involving an unscrupulous INEC official and PDP stalwarts to rig the August 9th gubernatorial election in Osun State.
The party said under the plan, some INEC IT staff has allegedly handed over the entire electoral register for the state to a Special Assistant to a top PDP national official, with a view to manipulating it to disenfranchise many voters.
”For those who may see this as outlandish, they should recall that an INEC official tampered with the voters register used during the last gubernatorial election in Anambra State to remove the names of many voters,” it said.
APC said the plan to tamper with the electoral register for Osun, coupled with INEC’s delay in issuing Permanent Voters Register to registered voters, especially those who are APC members in the state, highlight the desperation of the PDP to win the forthcoming governorship election at all cost.
”The truth is that the PDP knows it cannot win a free and fair election in Osun state. Everything so far points to the fact that our party will win by a landslide if the election is free, fair, credible and transparent. In fact, a highly-credible opinion poll carried out by the globally-recognized TNS-RMS shows that the APC leads among voters in the state by 73 percent, compared to a paltry 19 percent for the PDP.
”Apparently stunned by the reality on the ground, as against the propaganda by the PDP, the party’s candidate, Iyiola Omisore, quickly conjured his own opinion poll, purportedly carried out by USAID, showing that he is leading the APC candidate and incumbent Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
”Fortunately, USAID has denied carrying out any opinion poll in Osun State, thus putting a lie to the PDP’s claim. There is no better indication of desperation than this,” the party said.
It called on all the good people of Osun state in general and APC members and supporters in particular to be very vigilant in other to thwart the evil machinations of those who are averse to credible and violence-free elections.
”As we have said repeatedly, we ask for nothing beyond a level playing field for all the candidates in the Aug. 9th election in Osun State. Also, we want all registered voters to be able to exercise their franchise without hindrance, since popular participation is the bedrock of democracy.
”If the voting is done in the best tradition of free, fair and credible elections, whoever wins or loses will have no problem accepting the outcome,” APC said.
But reacting to the allegation, the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Osun State, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje faulted it saying “it does not mean anything to me.”
According to Agbaje, “anybody can just say anything and to me it doesn’t mean anything. If they say INEC wants to rig the election, you as a journalist should ask them how and where would they carry out the rigging, not just to make allegations.”
His words: “I have said it times without number that we (INEC) are committed to conducting a free, fair, credible and acceptable election come August 9. So, if anybody says INEC wants to rig the election, such person should let us know the means of doing so in order to know how to confront it.
“To me, such person is on his own because we are presently training staff and ad-hoc staff of INEC that will work during the election and we are going to conduct an acceptable election.”