The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday alleged plans by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the general elections, warning that it could be catastrophic.
The party also decried the incessant harassment and intimidation of its members across the country by PDP officials and candidates, using security agencies, which are supposed to be non-partisan and professional in the discharge of their duties.
APC National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed told reporters in Lagos that PDP chieftains were plotting to manipulate the exercise out of desperation.
He said the rigging strategies include the plan to manipulate the card readers, use of fake security agents and recruitment of thugs to disrupt voting.
Mohammed stressed: “Out of the desperation to win the elections at all costs, the PDP has perfected a number of strategies to rig the elections, especially in the North and in the Southwest. In one last desperate move, one Alhaji Sani Musa, the owner of ACT Technologies, the company that supplied the PVCs and the card readers, has been arrested and detained by DSS officials since Tuesday.
“Perhaps, the agents of the ruling party believe he may have the codes for the card readers, which is preposterous. Alhaji Musa has also been accused of colluding with the APC to rig the elections, which is totally false, because we at the APC do not subscribe to rigging under any guise.
“Another strategy is to deploy bandits in uniform to polling units to disperse voters by force, after voter accreditation must have been completed using the Card Reader. While that is going on, armed police and soldiers will then come in, ostensibly to chase away the bandits and evacuate INEC officials and voting materials. After evacuating them to ‘safety’, they will then coerce the electoral officials to allow them, security agents that is, to cast all the ballots in the particular unit.
“This strategy, to be used mostly in the PDP controlled states in the North and the Southeast, will be repeated in many polling units in many states, because for each state and polling units, there is a calculated percentage which the PDP must win!
“Another strategy, this time for APC controlled states, involves the use of carrot and stick against APC agents. The carrot involves seeking to buy the agents over with mouth-watering sums of money. If this fails, security agents and PDP thugs will simply disrupt the voting and destroy election materials.”
The Publicity Secretary also spoke of plans by the PDP to subject Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to electoral terrorism.
He said: “There is also a worrisome development in the Federal Capital Territory. In at least three locations around the FCT, Jere, along the airport road, Karu towards Nasarawa and Kubwa road, security agents have mounted road blocks and are stopping North-bound travellers supposedly for a routine search. But the real reason is to collect PVCs from passengers who have theirs on them.
“Those who refuse to surrender theirs are being molested. This runs against the pledge by the government to ensure free, fair, credible and violence-free elections.”
Mohammed alleged plans by the Federal Government to deploy troops, who will be decked in DSS outfits, in defiance court rulings. He said the soldiers will be deployed to the Southwest, with strict instructions to capture all states in the region, except Osun State.
The party official called on the APC members to be vigilant and expose unpatriotic elements who may want to sabotage the elections,
Mohammed also raised an alarm over plans to bomb major towns in APC states, including Rivers, Lagos, Kano, Imo and Edo, with a view to scaring away voters from the polling units, adding that Ekiti and Ondo have also been earmarked for card reader disruption.
The party official complained about the harassment and intimidation of members across the six geo-political zones.
He said: “Our members and supporters in Sokoto State are under siege from the PDP, using security agencies. Former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Barafawa has openly threatened to take the state by force. We asked all election monitors and observers to take note of Barafawa’s open threat.
“The police and PDP thugs in Ondo State, acting under instructions from Gov Olusegun Mimiko, have laid a siege on the opposition in the state. On Tuesday, Hon. Eniolorunda Omosule, a serving member of the House of Representatives, representing Owo/Ose Federal Constituency, was arrested and detained by the police for no reason other than to keep him away until after elections.
“APC members who were staging a peaceful walk at Ukparamu Ward 1, Bolowo community of Ese-Odo Local Government Area, were attacked with machetes and brutalised by PDP thugs, sponsored by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, with full police and army protection.
“We are calling on the security chiefs to stop these harassment and intimidation and to call their men to order, before things degenerate into a free-for-all.
“In Imo State, an aide of Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, who is contesting the governorship election on the platform of the PDP, sent more than 30 armed mobile policemen to invade the homes of some APC youth members in his ward at Mbutu in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area.
“The policemen fired indiscriminately, smashed doors and windows and arrested some of the youths, who were detained at the Uvuru Police Station and later moved to the police headquarters in Owerri
“The Commissioners of Police in the Southwest were yesterday invited to a secret meeting in Ibadan, where they received a Presidential bribe delivered in bullion vans as incentives for them to scuttle the elections in the region by acts of intimidation, unlawful arrests, and turning a blind eye to all irregularities and illegality that the PDP may perpetrate during Saturday’s elections.
“The Minister of Police Affairs, Abduljelili Adesiyan, one of the star actors in Ekitigate, also attended the meeting. All serving military personnel and their wives, as well as everyone residing in the barracks across the country, who are eligible to vote, will NOT be allowed to exercise their franchise on Saturday. We do not know the reason behind this, but it runs against the grain of international best practices in elections.”
Mohammed said the neutrality of the security agencies is critical to the success of the electoral process, urging them to be above board. He urged trhe international community to beam a searchlight on the electoral process.
He said: “The reason security agents are behaving this way is because no one has yet been held to account for Ekitigate, where security personnel, including policemen, soldiers, DSS and Civil Defence agents – all of whom we have their names, service numbers and telephone numbers – were wantonly used to rig the June 21st governorship elections.
“We sincerely hope that, in spite of their oath of office, the security chiefs have not jettisoned every appearance of impartiality ahead of Saturday’s election.”