The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance in Enugu State, Mr. Frank Nweke Jr, has alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has recruited some staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission to rig the coming election.
The former information minister, who made the allegation at a press conference in Enugu, on Friday, said the INEC officials and ad hoc staff had been detailed to bypass the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System during the election in order to rig the outcome.
He further claimed that political thugs had been briefed to cause mayhem and disrupt the Governorship and House of Assembly elections in the state with a view to dispersing voters at polling units.
Nweke said, “Since suffering massive losses across the state on February 25, 2023, the PDP has held a series of meetings at various locations to perfect their nefarious plans to ensure that they disrupt the electoral process, compromise INEC staff, and deploy maximum violence. A source that attended the meetings reported that they lamented that they were falsely led into believing that BVAS was impregnable by INEC and that manual voting was impossible.
“According to them, events in Port Harcourt and some parts of the country had demonstrated otherwise; and that they must now take advantage of it by deploying sums of money to compromise INEC staff, buy votes and cause maximum violence to scare voters who do not vote for them and intimidate others into voting for them against their will.”
But in a swift reaction, the Enugu PDP Campaign Council denied the allegations, saying Nweke’s accusations were “preemptive excuses for his expected abysmal outing in the coming election.”
The party, in a statement by its Director of Communications, and spokesperson, Campaign Council, Nana Ogbodo, said, “We would ordinarily not dignify Nweke with a response because his impact on the forthcoming general elections begins and ends with congesting and making the ballot papers longer than necessary.
“Nweke went into APGA ostensibly on the wrong permutation that the PDP’s governorship ticket would go outside Nkanu land so he could harvest from the expected anger of the people. Unfortunately for him, events mocked his foresight as that was not to be.
“We, therefore, advise Nweke to climb down from this high horse and first present himself for a popularity test in his hometown, Ozalla, before pursuing an illusionary governorship ambition.”
The campaign council also said it was shocked that the former minister was not yet in tune with the changes in the electoral laws.
“Nweke is still unaware that the Electoral Act 2022 has effectively put a stop to whatever ignoble roles he might have been playing in the past. We also reckon that Nweke, who has been a senior stakeholder and a major beneficiary of successive PDP governments until March 2022 when he embarked on his delusional governorship voyage on the platform of APGA will ultimately return to the umbrella after his crushing defeat on March 11,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, a group, Nsukka Journalists Foundation, has raised concern over the “pervading atmosphere of violence” in the Enugu North Zone of the state.
The foundation, in a statement on Friday by its Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ikechukwu, said it was worried that some political actors took no lesson from the examples of the state Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who maintained peace throughout his tenure.