AHEAD of Ekiti State governorship election re-run, 15 human rights groups in Osun State have warned the controversial Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against election rigging and manipulation of election results in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the state.
It would be recalled that a Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State, had few weeks ago ordered for re-run of the governorship election in 10 local government councils areas of Ekiti State, following a suit filed by Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate in the state, Dr. Kayode Fayemi against the declaration of the ousted governor, Engineer Segun Oni as the state governor by INEC in 2007.
The groups, under the aegis of Osun State Civil Societies Coalition Against Corruption and Rights Violation (OSCARV) called on the INEC to drop the idea of the alleged printing of two electoral documents with a view to using it secretly to the advantage of the ruling party.
According to the groups in a press statement signed by the Coordinator of Peoples Welfare League, Comrade Biodun Agboola and Osun State Chairman of Labour Party (LP), Comrade Rufus Oyatoro, the electoral commission led by its controversial chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu, has been using the method of printing two electoral documents to sabotage all the re-run elections in the country.
OSCARV also challenged the INEC to come out with a categorical statement on its official that was caught in a classroom in Ekiti State, while deleting names of eligible voters on the computer.
“The attitude of conducting elections to suit some individuals’ ego, whims and caprices should be jettisoned for the noble aim of nurturing and sustaining democratic norms and ethos, as it is obtainable in the developed countries.
“Political parties that are taking part in the election should shun all acts of election rigging such as ballot box snatching, multiple thumb-printing, violence and other electoral malpractices.
“All stakeholders in Ekiti re-run election must avert all past vices that are discovered to be the bane of the country’s journey to electoral success and has been an albatross to our claim to true democratic governance.”
The group further pleaded that, “INEC should play its assigned role of an impartial umpire in the electoral process as that is very essential to the credibility of the process.
“INEC should not assist any of the parties to have undue advantage in the electoral process to the extent of providing them with extra ballot papers and other electoral materials and helping them to re-write election results.”
Besides, the human rights groups noted that Ekiti re-run election is very strategic and important and should not be taken as business by the security agencies, which has been pandering the wishes of the ruling party.
It charged the security agencies and the INEC to do their jobs dispassionately and with a mind that they own allegiance to Nigeria as a country and not the individuals in the ruling party.
“Stakeholders should reckon with the fact that the people of Ekiti State, by virtue of their education, exposure and experience, are capable of making the right choice of who governs them and will resist any attempt to rig the electoral process in favour of anybody in the re-run election” the groups added.
By ISMAIL USMAN