*Promises free and fair polls
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, has admitted the circulation of fake voters’ cards in Edo State, two days to the July 14 governorship election.
The INEC Chairman made the admission in Benin City, yesterday, at a stakeholders’ meeting organized for governorship candidates by the electoral body. Also in attendance were the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar, and the Commander of the Fourth Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Abel Umahi.
The INEC Chairman, who expressed disappointment at the desperation of some of the candidates in the election, observed that the laminated cards tendered in evidence by the governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, were a bold attempt to clone the original, but noted the forgers did not succeed in capturing the security features as well.
Comrade Oshiomhole who tendered the fake cards had told the INEC Chairman that the cards were seized from some agents of the opposition party who are now reportedly in police custody.
On the source, Jega said the fake cards may have been cloned from the INEC registers presented to the parties some weeks ago.
According to him, “From what I’ve seen now, looking at these cards before me, I can confirm that they are fake. And I believe these is as a result of an abuse of privilege because we had made copies of the voters’ register available to all the parties. What these criminals have simply done is to clone from the voter register we made available to the public. But let me assure the public that the cards I’ve seen can not in any way be used at our polling units because our polling officers have been trained to look out for the special PIN numbers and other security features in the valid voter register which will be used on the day of election.”
According to Jega, to ensure free and fair polls, the ballot boxes that will be used for the election have special security features which will make it impossible to be diverted from one local government to the other, saying the measure will deter ballot box snatching.
Speaking earlier, Governor Oshiomhole had also alerted that he had credible intelligence that fake army and police uniforms were being sewn by the PDP with which their agents would be clothed on rgw election day to disrupt the polls in some areas.
Speaking in similar vein, the ANPP candidate, Chief Solomon Edebiri, urged the Inspector-General of Police to make the names of the security agents who will be at various polling units public to identify genuine security agents.
In his response, the I-G assured that his men were on the alert to deal with any impostors.
The stakeholders session was attended by the Directors-General of the campaign organizations of the seven candidates as well as the candidates themselves.