Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukogu
Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State
The Anambra INEC Office
State Assembly Road, Awka
Important Areas To Be Tidied Up
The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Onitsha, Nigeria, writes to draw the attention of your Anambra Electoral Residency to some important areas that need to be tidied up for smooth and popular conduct of the Saturday’s governorship poll in Anambra State.
It is recalled that during the official continuous voters’ registration and revalidation exercise in the State in August 2013, there were strong allegations that some desperate politicians hired and imported thousands of people from other States into Anambra State to have them registered as “registered voters”. In the river-line areas, for instance, about 500 of them were reportedly caught.
At the beginning of the out-going political campaigns, strong accusations were leveled against the same criminal politicians to the effect that registered voters are hunted in their houses/homes with inducement packages to surrender either their voters’ cards or cards’ polling units’ pin numbers. Others that did not have voters’ cards were asked to submit their passport photos with other personal information such as home address, age, gender, ancestral origins, phone numbers, etc. Strong fears are that the intents behind these may include production of fake voters’ cards for such compromised citizens to be used on poll day.
There was also media report of selling of voters’ cards in the river-line areas of the State including Anambra East, Anambra West and Ayamelum LGAs of the State. One of such the media houses that carried the news is the Vanguard Newspapers. In the re-scheduled senatorial poll for the Anambra Central poll in 2011, agents working for one of the senatorial candidates reportedly thumb-printed massively in Umunnachi areas, using compromised INEC adhoc staffs and security personnel posted to the areas.
Though it is said that a citizen without a voter’s card cannot vote on poll day, but where INEC adhoc staffs and security personnel posted to that particular area are compromised or bribed, those without voters’ cards or the bearers of fake ones may crookedly be allowed to vote, bypassing accreditation processes.
Therefore, sir, we have it on good authority that thousands of fake voters are in town. Tens of thousands of registered voters have been induced in their homes to either surrender voters’ cards pin numbers or sell them off. Such procured voters’ cards may be used by hired fake voters on poll day as voters. It is also the fear of many citizens that the personal data collected from other citizens such as photos; gender, age etc may be used in producing fake voters’ cards for them.
However, these criminal conducts can only see the light of the day where your Electoral Residency fails in its duties especially by allowing its adhoc staffs to be dominated by card-carrying members of political parties. Such people are usually snuggled into INEC by their parties and commissioned to perpetrate these criminal activities being complained of. They are also strategically posted to polling centers marked and known by their political parties, where the hired fake voters can be made to vote for them under highly compromised and unsecured circumstances. The INEC’s presiding officer, who announced a result in a hotel in Anambra State in 2011, is a clear reference point.
Finally, we call on your Electoral Residency to re-scrutinize all your adhoc staffs so as to weed out or ground those found to be card-carrying members or hired agents of political parties. Your Commission should also ensure that all its field personnel are roundly monitored in the whole of 4,608 polling units in the State
Both the hard and soft copies of the INEC’s voters’ register to be used for the poll in the State should be electronically and manually marked and only those confirmed registered voters (one million, seven hundred & eight four thousand, four hundred & seventy five) should be allowed to vote with their names serially marked in the voters’ register so as to cross-check the numbered accredited voters in the register with the total votes cast from each polling center or unit. Each electoral polling staff should be mandated to return the marked register to the Commission.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk