INEC promises free, fair governorship, state assembly elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says there will be free, fair, credible and acceptable governorship and state assembly elections in Kebbi on Saturday.

The commission renewed its commitment against allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that there was a plan to rig the elections in Kebbi.

Reacting to the development in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday, INEC’s spokesman Muhammadu Rabi’u said the allegations were mere speculations.

The PDP had alleged a plan to delay the BVAS accreditation process and add unaccredited voters to cause outright cancellation of some polling units.

“There is nothing like that. Anybody who comes on election day has to present his or her PVC before being accredited and authenticated and then be allowed to vote. So, there is no way you can delay accreditation,” stated Mr Rabi’u. “And anywhere we have a problem with our BVAS, we have backup BVAS to replace the non-functional ones.”

On adding unaccredited voters to cause outright cancellation of elections, Mr Rabi’u said, “There is no way anybody who doesn’t register in a polling unit can come there and want to vote because nobody votes without PVC.”

The INEC official assured that any ad hoc staff that compromised official position in favour of any political party would certainly be arrested and prosecuted according to the laws of the land, hence the need for them to remain neutral, honest and transparent throughout the election process.

He appealed to the electorate to be calm and come out en masse to exercise their civic responsibility, assuring that INEC had already put all the necessary machinery in place towards conducting free, fair and credible elections across the state.

Addressing journalists earlier, Abubakar Shehu, the director-general of the PDP governorship campaign council, said, “The Kebbi state gubernatorial campaign council has discovered a hatched plan by some undemocratic elements to rig the forthcoming gubernatorial and state assembly elections on Saturday, March 18.”

The PDP chieftain added, “We have received reliable information that they intend to hijack the process by prevailing on election officials to cause a delay in the BVAS accreditation process, add unaccredited voters to cause outright cancellation of such polling units and disruption of units perceived to be our strongholds, among others.”

According to him, the plot will take place in 16 local government areas, adding that they had perfected plans in collaboration with unscrupulous elections officials.

He, therefore, called on the resident electoral commissioner, the police, State Security Service and all other stakeholders to investigate the clandestine plan.