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Kwara: Presidential, NASS election, a rape on democracy – CNPP

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Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Kwara State chapter, Tuesday described the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the state as nothing but rape on democracy and the subversion of the will of the people.
Adebayo Lawal, state chairman of CNPP who stated this at a press conference in Ilorin, alleged that the exercise was largely marred by irregularities, obviously perpetrated to favour the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He posited that in most polling units across the state, card readers malfunctioned during the elections.
“Facts available to us show that less than 20 per cent of the 486,254 voters who voted during the presidential and national assembly elections in Kwara were validated by card readers. Many of those who voted did so manually. And this was with the approval of INEC officials. This resulted in over voting and the use of unclaimed PVCs by agents of a certain political party to vote during the elections.
“This is clearly against the initial guideline given by INEC that only voters accredited through card readers would be allowed to vote and that any voting not verified and authenticated by the card readers would be declared null and void,” he said.
While berating the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for allowing manual accreditation of voters during the elections in violation of extant guidelines set by it, Lawal warned the electoral against repeating the same error as Nigerians prepare for the gubernatorial and state assembly elections this weekend.
Lawal lamented that the use of manual accreditation allowed for manipulation of the election, saying his association has written the state INEC on the matter.
He stated further, “As we prepare for next Saturday’s governorship and state assembly elections, we considered it necessary to draw the attention of the media, civil society groups, local and foreign observers, international community and the general public to the widespread indiscretions that characterized the presidential and national assembly elections of 23rd February, 2019 in Kwara State, and to caution against recurrence of such anomalies in the forthcoming polls.
“The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Kwara State chapter reviewed the conduct of the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections in the State, and observed that the exercise was largely marred by irregularities, obviously perpetrated to favour the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. This was nothing but a rape on democracy and the subversion of the will of the people.
 
“In most polling units across the State, card readers malfunctioned during the elections. Facts available to us show that less than 20 percent of the 486,254 voters, who voted during the presidential and national assembly elections in Kwara were validated by card readers. Many of those who voted did so manually. And this was with the approval of INEC officials. This resulted in over voting and the use of unclaimed PVCs by agents of a certain political party to vote during the elections.
“This is clearly against the initial guideline given by INEC that only voters accredited through card readers would be allowed to vote and that any voting not verified and authenticated by the card readers would be declared null and void.”
The CNPP leader also expressed concern that agents of opposition political parties, who protested that card readers were not being used for voting in their respective polling units were harassed by security officials, saying from its own assessment the election in Kwara was a charade, flawed and discredited exercise.
“The results did not reflect the wishes of the vast majority of the electorate in Kwara,” he said, and added that for the next set of elections
“Only those verified and authenticated by card readers only must be allowed to vote in the elections as stipulated in the electoral act.”
According to him, if the card readers at a polling unit are not working, INEC officials at such polling unit should request for functioning card readers in replacement, and if there is no provision for that, elections in such polling unit must be suspended.
“We were glad to hear an INEC Federal Commissioner say on national television yesterday (Monday) morning that the usage of card readers is sacrosanct and that no manual voting would be allowed during the governorship and state assembly elections. This is a welcome development and we hope INEC ad-hoc staff will conform to this guideline.
“More importantly, INEC should correct all the observed inadequacies witnessed during the presidential and national assembly elections and must ensure that such indiscretions are not repeated during the governorship and state assembly elections.
“Several members and supporters of the opposition parties, especially the PDP were picked up and detained by security operatives few days before the last election,” Lawal said.
While it cautioned against the militarization of the March 9 governorship and state Assembly elections as it was done during the presidential and national assembly election, Lawal also warned against what he called ” the repeat of such senile and barbaric arrest and detention of members and supporters of the opposition parties” saying it would be in the interest of the peace pact signed by all parties participating in the election for the agencies to remain neutral.

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