Sola Ojo, Kaduna
A coalition of opposition political parties in Kaduna State has vowed to boycott local government elections slated for Saturday, May 12 over the supposed planned rigging by the state electoral body in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The coalition accused the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM) of a grand conspiracy to disenfranchise the electorate and rig the LG election, saying it refused to display voters registers at polling units for voters to confirm their names and eligibility to vote in good time.
Chairman, Labour Party and Chairman for the coalition, Umar Ibrahim Mairaqumi, who led other political parties leaders to the secretariat of NUJ in Kaduna on Friday, alleged that KAD-SIECOM has deliberately refused to use the INEC card reader machine for authentication of voters during the election slated to hold between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday.
According to him:
“There is a plan to rig the election already. We have conducted primaries before now. But with what we have heard and seen, we have no option than to boycott the election because we are in the know of a grand plan to rig in favour of APC.
“We have seen the card reader, we have seen what it can do. We have said it should be used for the election to ensure transparency. Electronic voting machine is only representing the ballot box and ballot paper. It does not capture voters register.
“What that means is that, anybody can just go and vote because there would not be any register to confirm whether your name is there or not.
“We have information that people will never have. We foresaw security threats against the electorate in Kaduna and we are being careful about the whole thing so we don’t put the lives of our supporters in danger.
“Kaduna State has had enough of its political violence. It is, therefore, urgently imperative that we put the security of lives and property of our people in high premium.
“This was why, instead of keeping silent, we have come to tell the world that the outcome of this election cannot be credible.
“It is pertinent, therefore, that the Kaduna State coalition of political parties, in the interest of peace and safety of lives and property of our candidates and the public, that we have decided to boycott the forthcoming LG election in Kaduna State scheduled for May 12, 2018.
Meanwhile, less than an hour after the coalition threatened a boycott, leading opposition party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said its supporters were ready to vote massively in support of the party.
Addressing newsmen in Kaduna on Friday, PDP Chairman in the State and Former Aviation Minister (State) Hassan Hyet said his party’s concern was not whether the KAD-SIECOM was planning on rigging the election, as alleged by the coalition, “but we are ready to slug it out with ruling APC in the polls.
“Our confidence is on our voters. It is not the issue of whether the KAD-SIECOM is involved or not, it is the people that own the government. Our supporters are ready to vote for PDP massively, and there is no [way] we can tell them to boycott now less than 24 hours [to the elections].
“This is a governor who promised to conduct the election within three months, which eventually turned into three years. We cannot afford to boycott elections now when our people are ready for the polls,” the chairman added.
Some of the political parties that make up the coalition include, but are not limited to, Young Democratic Party (YDP), Labour Party (LP) All Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Africa Democratic Congress (ADC), among others.