Political parties in Zamfara accuse INEC of bias ahead gov’ship poll

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Governorship candidates of various political parties in Zamfara State, including the National Rescue Movement (NRM), Accord (A), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are insisting that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Hajiya Asma’u Sani Maikudi, be redeployed alongside heads of all security agencies in the state.

The political parties alleged that Dr. Maikudi and head of the security agencies were bias, and that they had engaged in fraudulent practices.

inecThe parties had already petitioned INEC, the National Security Adviser (NSA), the acting Inspector General of Police and others over the conduct of the officials.

The petition was jointly signed by NRM’s Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, Accord’s Alhaji Bala Bello, APGA’s Alhaji Sani Abdulahi Shinkafi, and PDPs Hon. Bello Matawalle Maradun.

According to them, from observations made by their parties concerning the first round of elections in Zamfara State, the conduct of the police and other security agencies fell short of the ideal, saying they favoured the ruling APC in the state.

They said thugs were deployed to all the 14 local government areas in the state, who were allegedly covered and protected by the police and Civil Defence personnel, where they terrorized, harassed, intimidated and assaulted voters.

However, INEC in Zamfara State has debunked the allegations.

The Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, Garba Galadima, told Daily Trust that the allegations were malicious and wicked.

“Our attention has been drawn to mischievous audio file recorded by one of the governorship candidates in the state that we gave result sheets for the governorship election to a particular party. What I want the people to understand is that the allegations are false,” he said.

And in Abuja, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said the most important issue for the commission is the Saturday’s governorship and state houses of assembly elections.

Okoye who was responding to similar allegations by the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said they would not allow themselves to be distracted.

“We are preparing for the governorship and state houses of assembly elections and we are concerned at getting the materials to the places to ensure smooth, free and fair elections. At this moment, we are not going to join issues with anyone or any party,” he said.

Also speaking on the matter, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, told Daily Trust that the commission was never compromised.

“The presidential and NASS elections were credible, free and fair. Yes, there were challenges in a few places as is common with any general elections of this magnitude; but Nigerians across the country were able to exercise their franchise freely,” Oyekanmi said.

On the Zamfara REC issue, he said, “The process of removing a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) is enshrined in the law but I am not sure a petition written by a political party is one of the laid down benchmarks. In any case, I am not aware of the petition you talked about.”

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