The All Progressives Congress, APC staged a street protest at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC headquarters in the Maitama district of Abuja on Thursday in spite of heavy security presence and initial plans to scuttle the action.
Soldiers were drafted to the INEC headquarters Thursday as part of heavy security build-up to forestall the breakdown of law and order and motorists witnessed huge traffic jam around the city central as a result of the protest.
The party called for the cancellation of the November 16 Anambra gubernatorial election, as well as the removal of the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega.
According to the party in a formal protest letter submitted at the commission, the Anambra election falls grossly below any acceptable standard and spells doom for the country in 2015 if Jega is allowed to continue to head the electoral body.
It also called for the suspension and prosecution of all officials of the commission who have ever been indicted for electoral fraudulence to purge the commission of such compromised officials.
Some of the handbills used for the protest read: “INEC, Just 1 Authentic Permanent Voters’ Register Please”, “INEC Stop Disenfranchising Nigerians With Fake Multiple Voters’ Registers”, “2015 No Hope With Jega”, “Overhaul INEC Now! 2015 This INEC Is Not Capable”, “What of Delta-Central Senatorial Election?” “Oguta Election Not Concluded, Why?”
Meanwhile, a mild drama ensued just after the protest between members of the party and an official of the Automaten Technik Baumann, ATB, one of the companies in charge of enforcing electronic parking system in the city.
The official got more than he bargained for when he clamped the tyres of a car belonging to one of the protesters. On getting to their vehicle and seeing the tyres locked, the owner pleaded with the official to unlock the vehicle but he would not agree.
The argument drew the attention of more protesters who pounced on him and severely beat him up, seizing his clamping equipment and all the monies he had made for the day.
It took the intervention of some journalists to rescue him.
Below is a copy of the protest letter submitted at the INEC headquarters:
28th November 2013
Independent National Electoral Commission,
Plot 436 Zambezi Crescent,
Maitama District ,
Re: ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION: A CALL TO SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY.
The above subject refers. On the 16th November 2013, the good people of Anambra State woke up with great aspiration and expectation to cast their votes to elect a new Governor for the state.
Prior to the date for the Election, the ominous signs of an election that was pre-determined to favour specific interests against the run of the electorate support were already clear. When our great party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) noticed these foreboding signs; we immediately drew the attention of the electoral umpire and the whole world to them.
The issues, which our party complained about through official correspondences and various press releases, are several. These include:
The unholy conspiracy between the electoral umpire (INEC) and the presidency/PDP to rig the Elections to rig the election in favor of APGA.
Mass disenfranchisement of voters through use of multiple voters registers,
Deliberate delay in the distribution of electoral materials in the opposition strongholds,
The disappearance of electoral officials and result sheets meant for opposition strongholds,
The sudden creation of about 3,00 voting units, of which our polling Agents did not receive Tags,
The unconstitutional 22-hour curfew, which was a ploy to give the riggers the leeway to actualize their rigging plans while the vigilance of the Electorate was inhibited by the curfew already in place.
The unlawful deployment and use of the military during election and purely civil activities.
Our complaint about the Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu and other Federal Commissioners who had proven to be biased through his conduct in previous elections.
Despite INEC getting information of our complaints, we were doubly assured that our fears were founded.
The elections that were superintended over by your commission was grossly below any acceptable standard, whether local or international. The deliberate tactic to prevent democracy and serve the two parties’ interests, PDP and particularly APGA in this case cannot be democratic and in the voters’ interest.
And the only face saving decision for you and your commission in this circumstance is to cancel the charade, which you want to reinforce of the electorate as a credible election.
We cannot gloat over the dangerous signs and the gathering storms that portend a coup d’etat against the yearnings and aspirations of our people.
The reasons why we cannot accept this infamy of your commission as regards the Anambra election are as follows.
The Manipulation of the October 12th Delta Central Senatorial District bye- election.
The refusal of INEC to conclude the election started since July 29th 2013 in the re-run election to the Imo State of Assembly in Oguta, in spite of the fact that there was a clear winner.
The abnormality displayed in the State House of Assembly by-election in Ringim Constituency of Jigawa state.
The danger that the shenanigans, the conspiracy and the subversion of the will of the people signifies to our democracy.
The question our generations’ yet unborn will ask and their judgment if we refuse to do what is right to arrest the drift of our nation to the straits of destruction which have dire consequence for our people.
A flashback into our political history has revealed that the subversion of the will of the people has always ended in a catastrophe for our nation, thereby drawing back our quest for development.
The collapse of the first and second republic political experiments are pointer to the dangerous path we are treading once again.
We, in the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot be cowed, for this is a time that calls for all brave men and women to rise to the desperate call of the silent majority to rescue our nation from the assured perdition of a PDP led government at the Federal level.
If you recall, the 2011 National Assembly Elections were cancelled due to the failure of your commission to achieve the right parameters for a credible election. Our position is that if you could cancel an election that has already commenced and voting was ongoing due to flaws in that electoral process, your assertion that you do not have the authority to cancel an election that you have acknowledged as flawed and “messed up and sabotaged” cannot be sustained.
The observed flaws in the election were deliberately planned as a strategic conspiracy of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the Anambra Governorship election in favour of their surrogate party, the PDP faction of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). With your acknowledgement of these far reaching vitiating factors, your grandstanding to uphold the outcome of the flawed election and your haste to conduct what you call a supplementary election, without first correcting the innate flaws in the electoral process is unacceptable.
We have lost confidence in the ability of INEC as it stands today to organize a free, fair and transparent election anywhere in Nigeria if the Anambra style is repeated.
An outright cancellation of the Anambra Election, having been marred by serious irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
INEC should discard the present fake multiple voters register and produce one authentic voters register that will not disenfranchise any voter and be published 30 days before any election can take place in Anambra state.
The suspension and prosecution of all officials of the commission who have ever been indicted for electoral perfidy to purge the commission of such compromised officials.
The immediate redeployment and investigation of the current Anambra Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu.
We, as a party, we demand honesty and transparency! If our requests above are not acceded, it will confirm that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is deliberately (by either gross incompetence or more suspicious means) interfering in democracy.
Finally, we demand for the outright cancellation of the manipulated November 16th Gubernatorial election in Anambra State.
Chief Bisi Akande,
All Progressives Congress (APC)