Former Minister Urges Nigerians To Vote On March 18 As He Criticizes Presidential Election

A former minister of energy, Prof. Barth Nnaji, has advised Nigerians not to be deterred by the outcomes of the presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25.

The former minister stated this on Wednesday during the service of songs held in honor of the Labour Party senatorial candidate, Oyibo Chukwu, who was shot dead on February 22 at his country home in Umuode community, Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu.

While making his remarks, the former minister urged the people of Enugu state to vote in mass for the governor and House Assembly members of their choice on March 18.

He also urged the people to use their votes to bring about the desired change that would be beneficial to their children and their children’s children.

On the February 25 elections, Barth Nnaji lamented that the elections were deliberately planned and executed to deprive the voters of their right to vote and described the presidential election’s conduct as unfortunate.

He asserted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) failed to give presiding officers the passwords for the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) because it deliberately delayed the election in some South East states to discourage voters.

The former minister said, “There are several ways they (INEC) wanted to frustrate the voters – they didn’t give them (presiding officers) the password for the BVAS machines. So they were just fiddling with the machine for quite a long time. They even didn’t come in time, they came around 10:30 am and yet they didn’t come with the password.

“So they eventually gave them password because I complained to anybody that care to listen at INEC both local and national and we didn’t have to do that. So they gave them the password and this was for all three polling units in Umuode and all three had the same exact problem, which means it was totally planned.

“We hear now that the plan is to either do the same thing, maybe load up the BVAS and we hope that the INEC officials here don’t engage themselves in that kind of fraud.

“And of course, there are some other things like intimidation of voters but Nigerian voters are much smarter now. People refuse to be intimidated, people are prepared to vote and wait. People know that they have to look for whether the BVAS machine is ace-programmed with some numbers.

“They know to look for results sheets to be available before voting because otherwise what are you voting for if you don’t have eventual results sheets and so on? There are things the voters have to look out for.”

On the murder of Oyibo Chukwu, the former minister added, “People know that there is no way it was unknown gunmen, it is unfortunate that they went and sacrificed a young man, the driver of one of the candidates.

“Information we have is that the young man is from Imo State and that he was an orphan so nobody could ask about him.

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“So, they simply also brutally sacrificed him to try to camouflage what they had done. So there is nothing hidden under the sun, it is that our people, Nigerians, people of Enugu State should come out to vote because they are the power of this nation. The power of a nation is the power of the citizen.”