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Nigeria:Opposition Alleges Plans to rig Elections

In Nigeria, the opposition Action Congress (AC) party is alleging that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the federal government are planning to rig this month’s general elections. This follows what the party described as the redeployment of police commissioners across the country and the bribery, which it says, is associated with such redeployment. But the police have denied the allegations saying they are under orders to avoid partisan politics.

Lai Mohamed is the general secretary of the Action Congress party. He said the AC is aware of the government’s alleged plans to rig the elections.

“Everything on the ground tends to the fact that the ruling party and the federal government is bent on rigging the forth coming elections. In the first instance, by disobeying court orders, by refusing to allow Atiku (vice President Abubacar) to run for elections pending the outcome of various matters in court,” he said.

Mohammed said the AC has what he called enough proof that the government would manipulate the elections.

“We have the empirical fact, one that the sudden movement of police commissioners in the run up to the elections gives us a lot of fright. We also raised an alarm that we are having that the PDP (People’s Democratic Party) is planning to bribe each DPO (Divisional Police Officer) with half a million Naira (about $4000.00) so that the elections would be in their favor. And only today, the monitoring group of election observers have called out that INEC (Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission) is making it difficult for them to operate,” Mohammed noted.

He said the Action Congress petitioned the national assembly to amend parts of the constitution, which the party felt would be controversial.

“More than six month’s ago, the Action Congress warned the nation and called the national assembly to please amend section 37, subsection 1, of the Electoral Act, which provides that in the event of death of any presidential candidate before elections that the electoral commission might postpone the elections to another time. We asked the national assembly to expunge it from the Electoral Act, regrettably, nothing was done,” he said.

Mohammed reiterated that events have shown that the AC’s petition to expunge what they called the controversial Act was right.

“Now chief Adefarati (presidential candidate) died, and immediately he died, his party has written to INEC asking INEC to postpone the elections. And you see we should be a bit disturbed that a few hours after the death of Adefarati the federal government went to court asking the court to compel INEC not to postpone the elections,” Mohammed said.

He said the Action Congress party is alarmed at what he called controversial events leading up to this month’s elections.

“Within hours of the death of Adefarati, the National Electoral Commission actually said they would not postpone the elections. But a few hours after, the chairman of the commission said they were not sure. So there is this confusion and it confirms our fear that this government is actually preparing for belated elections or no elections at all,” he said.