The Peoples Democratic Party has accused the All Progressives Congress of conniving with some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission officials to disenfranchise voters by deleting their names from voter registers especially in the opposition party’s strongholds.
The Chairman of the PDP in Osun State, Mr. Soji Adagunodo, said this at a press conference he and other leaders of the party addressed in Osogbo on Tuesday ahead of the by-election for Osun West Senatorial District scheduled for July 8.
He also alleged that the ruling party, in connivance with some electoral officers had perfected plans to send wrong electoral materials to polling units in areas where the PDP was popular just to delay the commencement of voting and to manipulate the process in favour of the candidate of the APC, Mudasiru Hussain.
The opposition party also claimed that the APC had perfected plans to cause violence in Ede and some other local government areas on election day in order ensure cancellation of the result.
“The APC election strategy committee is conniving with certain elements in INEC to recruit OYES cadets and other party sympathisers as presiding officers and polling clerks. Part of the plans is to provide fake NYSC uniforms and distribute same to these elements in order to make them carry out this criminal plan.
“There are also plans by the APC to ensure that INEC allocate non-functioning card readers to areas considered as strongholds of the PDP. This, in their thinking, would slow down accreditation of voters and get voters discouraged.
“We have credible information about the plans of the APC and the state government to arrange the kidnap and or arrest of leaders of the PDP in certain local government areas on the eve of the July 8th by-election.
“As we speak, certain chieftains of the APC have compiled names of their party members and sympathisers to be accredited by INEC as election observers and monitors.
“You will recall that 181 of these same elements from Osun State were arrested somewhere in Imo State in 2013, while travelling as fake observers for the Anambra governorship election.”
Adagunodo also alleged that the APC was pushing for a shift in the date of the election because it had become obvious that its candidate was not popular among the electorate and they needed more time to repackage him.
He advised INEC not to yield to the pressure the APC was allegedly mounting on it to shift the date by three weeks, in order for it not to appear as a puppet of the ruling party.
Adagunodo said, “ At the stakeholders’ meeting we had with INEC in this state, we suggested that the election should hold on 22nd of July but out of 24 political parties that attended that meeting, 22 parties agreed that it should hold on 22nd of July with the exception of the APC and one other party that suggested that the election should hold on the 8th.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission has been under immense pressure from the APC leadership to shift the date of the forthcoming by-election by three weeks. We hereby advise INEC to refuse this request as doing so will compromise its integrity and cast a great doubt on its independence as an electoral umpire.”
But the Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy of the APC in Osun State, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, described the allegations against the ruling party as baseless and product of ‘sick mentality.’
Oyatomi said the PDP should substantiate all its claims with evidence otherwise the party leaders should be arrested and prosecuted by the police.
He said, “We challenge the PDP to go further and authenticate the so-called allegations and identify the so-called leaders of the APC with all the technical, electronic and forensic evidence necessary to prove the allegations.
“We also call on the security agents to invite the PDP leaders to convince them of all the allegations, otherwise they should be prosecuted. The APC believes that this allegation of rigging is the product of sick mentality of the Osun PDP and its supporters, who are psychologically tormented by the obsession to win Osun West Senatorial seat by any concoctive and demonic means.
“We declare that the APC can never descend to the criminality of accessing electoral materials let alone of planning to rig the forthcoming election.
“We are therefore alerting all good people of the state of Osun to discountenance the stupid allegations by the PDP who could not do anything to the constant defeats they have suffered in the hands of APC since 2011.”