By Muhammad Lawal, Birnin Kebbi.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police in Kebbi State have dismissed certain allegations concerning their plans to collude with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to rig the March 11 governorship election in the state.
Recall that the PDP governorship candidate in Kebbi, Gen. Aminu Bande, made the allegation at a news conference in Birnin Kebbi.
Bande then alleged that the INEC, in collaboration with the police, was conniving with the APC to conduct the coming elections without using Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices.
He also claimed that ballot papers would be given to the APC on the eve of election, to be thumb-printed for onward use on the election day.
The INEC in Kebbi State on Tuesday described all the allegations as mere fiction and a figment of imagination of the opposition party.
Alhaji Muhammadu Rabi’u, Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Kebbi State, debunked the allegations as false, insisting that the use of BVAS had been captured as part of the electoral laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“BVAS must be used in all elections in Nigeria henceforth, and it will continue to be used until a more improved technology is gotten.
“I am assuring you that there is no such thing and there will be no single polling unit across the state that will conduct election without BVAS.
“Any attempt from any quarters or from any of our ad hoc staff to conduct election without BVAS; definitely, we shall prosecute any of our official who flouts the regulation.
“Anybody from outside who feels he can connive with any of our staff to do so, I am very sorry, we will not let that person go free; he or she must be prosecuted.”
On allegation of issuing ballot papers to the ruling party on the eve of elections, Rabi’u said that ballot papers were part of sensitive materials in the custody of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He stressed that agents of all political parties and security agencies must be present before distribution of such materials.
“All sensitive materials are in CBN for safekeeping; before we go for it, we have to call the police and the political parties to go there together same day, same time. INEC will not do anything without the security agencies and political party agents.
“Automatically, as an agent of a political party, you are an ambassador of that party; therefore, it’s your responsibility to oversee and ensure that the right thing is done.
“So, such a thing is not possible and we are not conniving with anybody to do any evil,” he said.
On his part, the Commissioner of Police in Kebbi State, Mr Ahmed Magaji-Kontagora, also said that the allegations were false, adding that the police were a federal government agency that had been warned to be apolitical.
The police commissioner, who was represented by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Nafi’u Abubakar, said: “We were warned to be neutral in all elections.
“Therefore, I don’t think any member of the force will involve in conniving with INEC or any other person to tamper with the election; this is not true.”
Magaji-Kontagora assured that the police and other sister agencies in the state were fully ready to ensure hitch-free and successful elections across the state, advising all political parties as well as electorate to sustain the confidence they had in the police and other security agencies.