- As Oshiomhole’s aide alleges cloning of delegates’ voters cards
Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has raised the alarm that half a million prospective voters may not vote in the September 10 governorship elections in Edo State, because they are yet to collect their Permanent Voters Cards, PVC.
Edo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Sam Olumekun told a press conference in Benin City yesterday that 490,000 voters out of an estimated 1.7 million persons registered in the last voter registration exercises conducted in the were yet to collect their PVCs and that the electoral umpire was improving on the electoral processes to prevent the disenfranchisement of the electorate in the state.
Olumekun revealed that INEC had also set Wednesday, June 22, to Sunday, June 26, to carry out a continuous registration exercises for those attaining the ages of 18, those who could not be registered during the last registration exercise and those who registered but could not find their names on the existing voters registers.
The REC said out of the 20 political parties that were active in Edo State, only nine had indicated interest to contest in the governorship election.
Meanwhile, tension is being heightened among stakeholders in the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, ahead of the June 18 governorship primaries over alleged cloning of delegates PVC.
The crisis, which reared its ugly head yesterday, particularly among delegates in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area, has been described as “rape on democracy.”
It was alleged that a meeting of the delegates which was called by some leaders of the party at the LG level was meant to “cross-check” if the delegates actually had their voters cards.
A senior special assistant to the state governor on media has alleged that some APC leaders and aspirants were collecting voter cards from delegates to the party primaries with a view to cloning them.
He said the exercise, which is being carried out in the homes of some APC leaders to the benefit of a favoured aspirant of the governor, was a threat to the fortunes of the party should the national secretariat allow the trend to go on.
“What is happening now is the same thing that played out in Bayelsa primaries. You will recall that I was part of the entourage that followed our Comrade Governor to conduct the botched Bayelsa APC primaries.
He said “the governor sent us to go outside to go and investigate what was happening outside the Samson Siasia Stadium and we found out that the delegates’ voters cards had been collected from them prior to the day set for the primary and had them cloned.
“So the actual delegates were locked outside the stadium while the fake ones were allowed inside the stadium.”
Confirming the development, former chairman of Ikpoba Okha Local Government, Barrister Itohan Ogbeide Osahon said “since the primary is approaching and the only means of identification is either the use of drivers licence or the use of voters card which is accessible to everyone, we wanted to know those from our local government, whether they have these means of identification.
“So we wanted to know those from Ikpoba Okha, if they have the PVC or not, which is a means for them to get access to the venue of the primaries. This was done with the intention to give appropriate advice to those that have and so that we will properly brief them on next line of action to adopt.”
Speaking about the fears expressed by Mr Ugbo on cloning, the former council boss said “the point is that with the way that card is designed, there is no way it can be cloned. The card cannot be used by any other person other than the original owner.
“What we wanted to do was to find out if they actually have a means of identification and if they don’t, maybe we can then tell them to go to the high court to do affidavit before the primaries or declare that your card is missing. So this is just the purpose of us asking them to come with their PVCs,” she concluded.