A foremost support group of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, the Peter Obi Support Network (POSN) has requested from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) immediate relocation of polling units situated close to the Bourdillon House residence of the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
By Tunde Joshua
The group submitted that situating the polling units within the vicinity of the former Lagos State governor in Ikoyi, Lagos, may hinder the free voting process during the 2023 elections.
POSN, in a statement on Monday, argued that the voters sympathetic to other political parties opposed to the APC might not find it comfortable to exercise their civil rights for fear of molestation and intimidation.
“We have received credible reports from our members resident near Bourdillion part of Ikoyi, Lagos, that a particular polling unit sited disturbingly close to the personal residence of one of the major contestants in the forthcoming presidential elections slated for February 25th, 2023, is making them highly apprehensive of their ability to vote freely on any election day.
“Their fears are not without foundation judging from events of the past elections where political thugs and social miscreants loyal to the cause of the presidential candidate had sought to undermine the peaceful voting process via violent intimidation in a bid to stop voters from voting for candidates of their choice, even when the suspected candidate was not a direct contestant in previous elections,” the group said
It also demanded explanations from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the mass dumping of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in major cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
According to the statement, POSN in a letter submitted to the Electoral body and dated August 30, 2022, claimed that the PVCs being exhumed from dumping sites and gutters clearly exposed confidential information of the owners of the mutilated cards.
The group said, “in the last few weeks, various disturbing viral videos on social media platforms, notably Facebook and Twitter, showed thousands of permanent voters’ cards of eligible Nigerians being exhumed from gutters and refuse dumps in major cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt, Rivers State etc on daily basis, showing the names, pictures and other confidential information of owners of the mutilated cards.
“We find such disturbing viral videos extremely worrying and politically demotivating taking into cognizance the arduous rigorous process the average Nigerian faced in an attempt to comply with the registration demands prescribed by your agency, only to be flushed away, mutilated and destroyed in such a wicked, callous and dehumanizing manner by supposed staff working under your office for whatever selfish motives that may have actuated their horrible actions.”
The group further requested that all INEC officials found to have manifestly connived and colluded with anti-democratic elements in the country should face prosecution to serve as a deterrent to others.
POSN demanded the creation of “practical and verifiable platforms where registered voters denied their rights to ownership/possessions of PVCs could ventilate their complaints and have the same expeditiously remedied via the issuance of PVCs to them without delay.”
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