By Abdullahi Faruk, Birnin Kebbi
Rtd. Maj-Gen. Aminu Bande, People’s Democratic party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate in Kebbi State, alleges that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in collaboration with the police is conniving with the ruling party in the state to conduct the forthcoming elections without BVAS.
He alleged that the ruling party in the state, All Progressives Congress (APC) had concluded plan with INEC not to use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) across the state in order to rig the gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.
Bande made his position known in a press briefing held in his gubernatorial campaign office in Birnin Kebbi.
The gubernatorial candidate said PDP had done very well in the presidential and national assembly elections, “this indicates that Kebbi is a PDP state and the ruling party is not happy with this development, trying all means to rig the elections in the state.”
He promised to accept defeat if the elections were conducted free, fair and credible, saying: “I am bold to tell anybody that I am ready to accept defeat in a free, fair contest, I will congratulate the winner, I don’t want any single vote manipulated in my favour.”
While applauding the efforts of security agencies during the previous elections, Bande appealed to them sustain the tempo and improve on upon in the upcoming elections to enable citizens exercise their franchise devoid of intimidation, harassment, inducement and coersion.
When contacted, the Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Kebbi State, Alhaji Muhammadu Rabi’u debunked the allegation, insisting that the use of BVAS had been captured as a law.
“BVAS must be used in all elections in Nigeria henceforth and it will continue to be used untill a more improved technology is gotten. I am assuring you that there is no such thing and there will be no single polling unit across the state that will conduct election without BVAS.
“Any attempt from any quota or from any of our ad-hoc staff to conduct election without BVAS, definitely, we shall prosecute him/her and anybody from outside who feels he can connive with any of our staff to do so, I am very sorry, we will not let that person go free, he/she must be prosecuted.”
On issuing ballot papers to the ruling party on eve of elections, Rabi’u said ballot papers were part of sensitive materials in the custody of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), assuring that agents of all political parties and security agencies must be present before distribution of such materials commence.
“All sensitive materials are in CBN for safe keep, before we go for it, we have to call the police and the political parties to go there together same day same time. INEC will not do anything without the security agencies and political party agents.
“Autimatocally as an agent of a political party, you are an ambassador of that party, therefore, it’s your responsibility to oversee and ensure that the right thing is done. So, such a thing is not possible and we are not conniving with anybody to do any evil,” he assured.
On his part, the Commissioner of Police in Kebbi State, CP Ahmed Magaji-Kontagora said the allegations were not true, saying that the police is a federal government agency and warned to be neutral.
The CP, who spoke through the command’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), SP Nafi’u Abubakar, said: “We were warned to be neutral in all elections, therefore, I don’t think any member of the force will involve in conniving with INEC or any other person to temper with the election, this is not true.”
He assured that the police and other sister agencies in the state were fully ready to ensure a hitch free and successful elections across the state, advising all political parties as well as electorate to sustain the confidence they had on the police and other security agencies.