The All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo state have traded words over an alleged plot by the state’s governor, Seyi Makinde, and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the coming 2023 general elections.
In a statement released by the APC Publicity Secretary, Olawale Sadare on Sunday, September 11, 2022, in Ibadan, the party alleged that the state governor, Seyi Makinde has collaborated with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state to shut down some of its strongholds ahead of the polls.
The opposition party claimed that the sitting governor has plotted to change the location of some polling stations considered to be the stronghold of the APC with a view to disenfranchising its supporters on election day.
According to Sadare, the APC is heading for a clear victory in the 2023 elections provided the atmosphere of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria is not tampered with.
The APC spokesperson claimed in the statement that the party was in possession of an intelligence report revealing how Governor Makinde had compromised some bad eggs within INEC to achieve his aim of making his re-election a walk-over as he had earlier boasted.
The statement read, “Makinde, already getting the signals pointing to his inevitable electoral doom, has issued a standing instruction to some bad eggs within the Oyo State office of INEC, to immediately relocate several polling units across the state, from their advertised addresses to unknown or obscure locations.
“A run-through of the affected units revealed clearly the devil behind the detail; they are units considered strongholds of our party, which given the pervasive atmosphere of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria, our party is expected to win hands down, without fuss.
“Not only would this plot cause voters incalculable stress on election day, for many will be hearing of such for the first time on poll day, but many will also become disenchanted once they are unable to locate the new polling units. This will then drop the idea of participating in the voting exercise and thus reducing the chances of the electoral victory of the preferred candidate”
Sadare declared that the resolve of the good people of Oyo State to free themselves from a government of deceit will survive the plots of the ruling party before and during the 2023 polls.
The statement reads further: “By this notice, we alert the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Zonal Electoral Commissioner, the Resident Electoral Commissioner and all electoral stakeholders to beam the commission’s searchlight on the activities of INEC staff, especially those in the Oyo State office, so that they do not allow some bad eggs tarnish the commission’s hard-earned reputation nor put to disrepute, its concerted efforts at organising free, fair and credible polls.
“We have put behind us the ugly experience of 2019 when a supposed unbiased umpire became an interested party and connived with the PDP to perpetrate electoral fraud. The hatchet job was well done such that most polling stations were turned to drinking joints by PDP members as early as 12 noon on the election day as a result of the assurance they had got.”
According to the APC, INEC would be held responsible for all unclaimed PVC, electoral materials,
Reacting, to the allegations by the opposition party, PDP said APC’s statement was birthed out of frustration seeing that their plans to rig the coming election had been blocked by INEC.
Defending his party, PDP spokesman in Oyo State, Akeem Olatunji said the alleged plan of relocating polling units confirms the notion that APC is practically dead in Oyo.
He said: “When someone has lost a fight, they will be fabricating reasons for their defeat and that is exactly what the APC is doing now.”
According to him, the APC is already aware that they cannot win the forthcoming polls without manipulation and the plan has been blocked by INEC, hence they are blabbing around.
Olatunji added: “We are not the ruling party at the federal level and INEC is a federal agency so, how is it possible for the opposition party to control the agency under the ruling party? They are saying what they have in mind about rigging the coming election but we are confident that INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu would do a good job in 2023 elections.
“With the BVAS introduced by INEC APC knows that they cannot get half of the votes they got in 2019 because the party had scattered and defeating them this time would cause us to break a sweat.”