By Kadiri Segun
Alliance for Free and Fair Elections in Nigeria is a Non Governmental Organisation established to promote free and fair elections. The organisation closely monitored the conduct of the last General Elections in Akoko-Edo LGA.
And in the cause of our monitoring, it was reported that two wards out of the ten wards that make up Akoko-Edo were attacked during the collation of results that came from the various units of the two wards in Akoko-Edo LGA by hoodlums, which resulted to carting away of INEC sensitive materials, including BVAS Machines and result sheet of ward two, located in Igarra.
We are aware this case was immediately reported at the Igarra Police Division by one Mr. Rotimi Obajaja, who was the Ward collation agent of the APC and Mr. Jarkata, who was also the collation agent of the APC in ward Six. But to our greatest surprised, not one single person has been invited nor arrested in connection with these attacks. Also, the electoral officer of the LGA seems not to be disturbed at all that sensitive materials that were put in his care are missing.
This was in a statement jointly signed and issued by Comr. John Orinami Olaiya, President and Comr. Momoh David, National Secretary, noted that the development has only created one singular impression in our minds that both the security agencies and INEC Electoral Officer involved in seeing that INEC materials in Akoko-Edo LGA do not get into the hands of unauthorized persons seem to be deliberately covering up the perpetrators of the attacks on INEC collation centres in Igarra, ward two, and Okpe in Ward Six, which is the reason behind not arresting and questioning anyone two weeks after the incidents took place.
Credible Intelligence reports we gathered have it that some arms bearing people believed to be hired thugs were led by Hon. Kabiru Adjoto, the PDP flag bearer for the House of Representatives election, to attack the ward collation centres in both wards one and six.
We were also reliably informed that during the attacks, several INEC sensitive election materials were taken away after dispersing the workers with sporadic gun shots to the air.
It was also gathered that several hours after the attacks took place, the Electoral Officer (EO) in Akoko-Edo was invited by security agents to leave the Akoko-Edo Collation Centre to receive some INEC material earlier carted away by these hoodlums, but recovered by yet to be known persons.
Surprisingly, the list of the said recovered items was neither announced by the EO or any of the security personnel on return to the collation centre, nor was any arrest made, despite the fact that the said, Hon. Kabiru Adjoto, who led the team, was still loitering around the collation centre with some unidentified, strange looking youths.
Our worry is that the INEC equipment may have been tampered with while in the custody of the invaders. Equally of grave concern is the unexplained inactions of the security agencies in Akoko-Edo, as well as the Electoral Officer, who had earlier failed to provide enough vehicles to convey Electoral Materials to the RAC centres early enough, thereby causing delays in the commencement of accreditation and voting in some wards.
As concerned Nigerians, we are constrained to use this medium to call on the ever reliable Inspector General of Police, to use his good office to cause the thorough and comprehensive investigations to be carried out so as to fish out those behind the attacks and be punished for their actions so as to serve as deterrent to anyone who would want to do that in the future.
Additionally, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians and lovers of free and fair election, devoid of intimidation, violence and rigging, to plead with the relevant agencies to immediately conduct a thorough and professional investigation into this case and take necessary steps to bring all culprits to book before the next election. This is to avoid the recurrence of similar violent attacks, stealing, and wilful destruction of INEC equipment in subsequent elections.
We come in peace.