The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned last Saturday’s bye-election in Bauchi South Senatorial district, alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commissioned (INEC) and security agencies colluded with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the state government to rig the election.
Chairman of the PDP in Bauchi State, Alhaji Hamza Akuyam, who addressed journalists at the party’s office, on Monday, described the election as the “most scandalous in the history of Bauchi State in general and Bauchi South in particular.”
The state chapter of the party, he said, has vowed to institute a legal action against the Bauchi State government and the APC for allegedly rigging the election.
Akuyam, who was in company with the candidate of the party in the just concluded bye-election, Dr. Ladan Saliu, and other officials of the party, alleged that the Bauchi State Government perfected a script to rig the election, and, “carefully rehearsed and executed it with active connivance of Law Enforcement agencies and officials of INEC.”
Recalled that INEC declared APC candidate, Lawal Yahaya Gumau, as the winner of the bye-election having polled total a votes of 119,489 to defeat the PDP candidate Ladan Saliu who polled 50,256.
But the state chapter of PDP now accuse officials of INEC and security agencies of colluding with the state government to rig the election.
The chairman of the party in the state, said: “It is regrettable that the state office of INEC became a theatre of Electoral malpractice and manipulation where figures were scandalous re-jigged to favor APC.
“This was done without any consideration for voters who stood in cues for long, some traveled miles and braved extreme conditions only for officials to disenfranchise them with a stroke of the pen, this is unacceptable”
He alleged that vote buying was not only widespread but was conducted in the open, saying “The APC-led government in the state openly lured citizens with cash for votes, which were sold for anything between 100, 200, 500, 1000 and in some cases 5000 naira per vote. Simply put, the ballot became the most sought after commodity in the Senatorial zone.”
The PDP also alleged that, “This shameless act was responsible for the low turnout as voters, especially women and youth effused to vote until they get paid. In some voting centres”, alleging that the police fired gunshots and roads blockage “taking away a ballot box with agents thereby disenfranchising citizens from casting their votes”
Akuyam lamented the cancellation of over 80,000 votes in an election where only256, 763 votes were cast saying, “We condemn this charade in strongest terms because it was a hatchet job by INEC officials and Governor Mohammed Abubakar and the Government to deny PDP victory.”
PDP also alleged that card readers were not used in the larger part of Toro Local Government adding that this explained the so called massive number of votes secured by the APC compared to Bauchi which has more centers and registered voters.
“The conduct of our the law Enforcement Agency and Security Services in this hole saga was to say the least, regrettable, Police vehicles were used in some rural areas of Alkaleri Local government to block roads and deny citizens free movement while officials of the state were given free access to those areas to purchase votes for APC,” he said.