Tuesday, March 5,2019
The Peoples Democratic Party in Plateau State has accused the All Progressives Congress of planning to rig Saturday’s governorship election in the state in connivance with the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Husseni Pai.
The opposition party said the electoral commissioner planned to favour the state Governor, Simon Lalong, who is the APC governorship candidate.
The PDP stated this in Jos on Monday in a statement by the Chairman of its Media and Publicity Committee, Mr Yiljap Abraham.
According to the PDP, the Plateau REC and his counterpart in Benue State, Nentawe Yilwatda, held a meeting at the INEC headquarters in Jos where the rigging plots were hatched.
The plots, the PDP said, included the use of “vote-buying, box snatching, monetary inducement of INEC staff, and deployment of faulty card readers in the PDP strongholds.”
It also alleged that there were moves to frustrate the movement of the PDP governorship candidate, Senator J.T. Useni, and some key PDP stakeholders, as well as deploying the military to intimidate voters.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Plateau State,Halilu Pai, could not be reached, but the Head of Voter Education, Mr Osaretin Imayiyereobo, when contacted said his boss would react to the allegations in due course.
However, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Benue State, Nentawe Yilwatda, in his reaction, told The Punch in Jos that as an INEC worker, he was only interested in ensuring the smooth conduct of the governorship poll.
He said, “When has it become an issue for one to visit his colleague in Plateau? Those who know me will attest to the fact that I am always in Jos during weekends. I go home every week and I usually visit my colleague there. During my last visit, I met my colleague having a meeting with the electoral officers in Jos. How does that translate to plotting how to manipulate the poll in favour of the APC? Can any plot take place in such an open meeting? I think, to us the most important thing is how to conduct a free and fair election than responding to allegations that have no substance.”
Also, Lalong in his reaction described the allegations as ridiculous and a figment of the PDP’s imagination.
The governor, who spoke through his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Mark Longyen, said, “It is absolutely frivolous, false, very ridiculous and a figment of the imagination of the PDP opposition elements who authored the so-called statement, which I would describe as mere ‘hate speech’ towards Governor Lalong.
“Alleging that the governor took part in a meeting aimed at ballot box-snatching, card reader manipulation, voters inducement, vote-buying and causing violence, among others, is not just ridiculous but also the height of political propaganda, political chicanery and sheer mischief.”