IGNORE IGP’S ORDER, DEFEND YOUR VOTE, APC TELLS NIGERIANS

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has called on Nigerians to ignore the order by the Inspector-General of Police asking voters to go home immediately after casting their ballots during the forthcoming elections.

The national publicity secretary of the party, Lai Mohammed, advised the electorate to pay attention instead to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, who has calrified the issue by stating that the electoral law does not state anywhere that voters should not wait to ensure that their votes are counted.

The party, therefore, urged voters to make sure they stayed behind to protect their votes after casting their ballots, as was the case in 2011.

The APC stated that contrary to the suspicious directive by the police chief, INEC encourages voters to stay behind and watch their votes counted, saying the law expects such voters to stay behind but to conduct themselves in an orderly manner.

”According to Jega, who appeared on Channels TV on Friday morning, the electoral law says anyone that has no business with the electoral process at the polling booths but desires to monitor events should stay at least some metres away from the polling agents and completely away from the ballot box after casting their votes.

”The INEC Chairman further clarified that all registered voters have businesses with the process and can therefore not be classified as people that don’t have businesses at polling units,” the party stated.

It would be recalled that the IGP, Suleiman Abba on Thursday warned voters to go back to their homes after casting their votes on election days.

The IGP had given the warning while addressing accredited observers for the   general elections in Abuja, stating that the possibility of committing electoral offence was very high if voters hung around the polling booths after voting, waiting for the results of the poll.

Abba said that each polling unit would have at least two or three policemen to protect the votes cast by the electorate.

‘‘Two to three police officers will be attached to each polling unit, and we would provide more officers for the collation centres and for the managers of the elections.

“We will go on to protect the electorate. Every eligible voter should feel safe enough to cast his votes. We will be there to protect the votes and make sure no one disrupts the process,” the IGP said.

He said further: “Cast your votes and go and cool down. If you remain there, there is a likelihood that you will commit an offence.’’

Abba also advised political parties and their candidates to adhere to the “one agent to a polling unit,” as stipulated by the electoral act.

“Asking voters to wait and protect their votes implies taking the law into their own hands. It is unacceptable,” he said.

Stating also that the police were aware of threats by some politicians to declare parallel election results, the IGP warned that his men would deal with such act within the ambit of the law.






     

     

    “We have heard some people are threatening to declare election results; we hope it is not true. If you don’t accept the declared result by INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission), the best way is to proceed to the tribunal.

    “The refusal to accept the result and resort to extrajudicial activities is a threat to the electoral process. But where they don’t heed the appeal, the police will act within the law to protect the electoral process,” Abba stated.

    The APC, however, observed that the IGP has no constitutional right or powers under the constitution or Police Act to rewrite the electoral law, while affirming that the role of the police is to maintain law and order or such other assistance as may be sought from the police by INEC.

    The party therefore called on Nigerians to ignore the so-called public service announcement concerning the show of force by government security agencies, saying it is part of efforts to intimidate the electorate and pave the way for the PDP to rig the elections.

     

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