Ahead of the forthcoming governorship and state houses of assembly elections slated for March 9, the PDP in Plateau has accused the APC of “plotting to rig the polls” .
Chief Damishi Sango, the party’s Chairman in the state, made the allegation at a press conference on Tuesday in Jos. According to Sango, the APC has “perfected plans” to use the security agents and other critical election stakeholders to rig the polls in its favour.
Sango alleged that the ruling party was plotting to “use the military to intimidate, harass and cause fear among the people in all parts of the state”. He further alleged that the ruling party was planning to frustrate voters in PDP strongholds by tampering with voting machines and ensuring the late arrival of electoral officials and materials.
Sango, however, described the national elections held on Feb. 23 as “a huge success for the PDP in Plateau”, saying that the opposition won “in spite of the heavy rigging”.
“The Feb. 23 election was a huge success, but intelligence reports available to us indicate that the APC and Gov Simon Lalong are busy working on plans to rig the second exercise. As I address you, we have detailed information on the specific local government areas and locations where they intend to intimidate and harass voters at both polling points and collation centres.”
Sango also alleged that civil servants, particularly those on the directorate cadre, as well as principals of secondary schools, were under pressure to deliver their areas to the incumbent governor.
“From our findings, the officials have been ordered to deliver their areas in favour of the incumbent government or risk losing their jobs,” he said.
The chairman appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and security agents to be neutral and transparent during and after the elections. “Those saddled with election duties must be transparent and avoid actions capable of truncating the existing peace in Plateau,” he said.
Sango urged Plateau voters to elect Lt. Gen Jeremiah Useni (rtd), for governor and also vote for PDP candidates contesting house of assembly seats across the state. “I understand the pains of Plateau people over the massive cancellation of their votes in certain areas in the national elections, but I want to appeal to them to put that behind and vote massively for the PDP so as to restore the lost glory of the state,” he said
The chairman appealed to PDP members and supporters to be orderly during the election, adding, however, that they must be alert and be determined to ensure that the right thing was done.
Reacting to the allegations, Pam Dug Gyang, Director-General of the APC Governorship Campaign, described the clams as “totally false”. “I am not aware of any plan to rig the elections. We have campaigned hard and tried to sell our candidate to the Plateau people. We went to every local government and have embarked on a door-to-door campaign.
“We have done a lot to appeal to the voters and we believe they will vote for us. We have no fear. If we had planned to win by rigging, we shall not campaign this hard.
“Rigging is not in our plans. We do not steal votes. Those who steal votes are those that think that everyone is doing the same thing. We are busy and focused on securing the people’s mandate. We won’t be distracted by such antics,” he told NAN.