Clark, Okurounmu, Ezeife Accuse INEC Chairman of Compromise

With just about a week to the February 14 presidential elections, there appears to be no respite for the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, as some prominent politicians under the auspices of Southern Nigerian Peoples Assembly, SNPA, have called for his sack and arrest, while also calling for the postponement of the polls.

Alleging that the INEC chairman ordered the illegal release of the Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, to emirs, district heads and some unnamed top politicians in the North, the group in a press conference Thursday in Abuja, also alleged that the release of PVCs to traditional rulers in the North is the reason why PVC distribution in the Northern region of the country was 100% compared to a meagre 50% distribution in the South.

Present at the conference were Femi Okurounmu, who is a member of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba socio-political group; former Minister for Information, Walter Ofonagoro; Chukwuemeka Ezeife,  former governor of Anambra State and a former Federal Commissioner for Information, Edwin Clark.

Okurounmu who spoke on behalf of the group alleged that there was incontrovertible evidence that the INEC Chairman had delegated one of his National Commissioners to meet with certain leaders of the Northern Elders Forum on August 20, 2014.

Alleging also that the meeting occurred at a time when the chairman had travelled on an official trip to Lagos, Okurounmu asserted that the agenda was mainly perfecting rigging strategies that would ensure the emergence of a Northern candidate as president at the polls.

 

Okurounmu also alleged that at a previous Northern Elders Forum meeting held at Arewa House, Kaduna, on August 16, 2014, chaired by Maitama Sule, a former Nigerian ambassador, all attendees had committed themselves to ensuring a the next president of Nigerian emerges from the North by any means necessary.

According to Okurounmu, Jega also directed that PVCs belonging to voters from the Northern areas should be released to Emirs, district heads and top politicians from the respective areas. This, he said, had resulted in a situation which saw an individual being in possession of two or more PVCs at a time.






     

     

    He also said that the INEC Chairman was guilty of soliciting for and receiving funds and resources such as laptops from the NEF to facilitate effective distribution of PVCs in the North, in spite of his claim that the commission had adequate funds to conduct credible elections as planned.

    “Despite Jega’s public admission that the commission has all funds it requires to conduct the 2015 elections, the group was aware that the Northern Elders Forum obtained and distributed 150 pieces of laptops to INEC for each of the Northern states.

    “This accounted for nearly 100 per cent PVC collection rate, especially in the North West states, as compared with less than 50 per cent collection rate in the Southern states. This is the reason why Lagos State, with a sophisticated population of over 5.2 million, has not been distributed more than 2.5 million PVCs,” Okurounmu stated.

    Threatening that elections would not be allowed to take place in the Southern region of the country if the federal government did not take the necessary steps, the group called for the re-constitution and repositioning of INEC, stating also that postponement of the scheduled polls would ensure the conduct of credible elections.

     

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