Being the text of a press conference called by Kwara State chapter of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) in Ilorin on Saturday, August 16th, 2014 and read by Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Kwara State chapter, Hon Adebayo A. Lawal.
Good morning, gentlemen of the press.
As you are aware, after the postponement of the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) distribution and Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise that was initially fixed for July, 2014 in Kwara State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the PVC distribution exercise commenced yesterday on a worrisome and disturbing note.
The CNPP has called this Press Conference to address the threat to our democracy at this particular time. The preliminary report of the PVC distribution exercise from 193 wards across the 16 local government areas of Kwara State has shown that the integrity of INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega is on the line, the forthrightness of Kwara State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Chief Timothy Ibitoye is being challenged and the credibility of INEC has been encroached by INEC itself whether by its action or inaction or by political conspiracy.
CNPP members and the people of Kwara State at large are understandably worried that INEC has lived below expectation despite the fact that it had more than enough time to plan and deliver a hitch-free and credible PVC distribution and CVR exercise for the good people of Kwara State. On our own part, as a political parties, we vigorously embarked on voter education and sensitization of Kwarans on the exercise, and our intervention is hugely responsible for the large turn out of people across all polling units in Kwara State. INEC should play its role credibly and constitutionally.
As we speak, thousands of CNPP members and supporters, with valid temporary voter cards issued by INEC, from the 16 local government areas of Kwara State are at the verge and borderline of being disenfranchised by INEC due to its failure to provide their PVCs and without satisfactory explanation for this failure. These patriotic Kwarans and CNPP members had throng their various polling units to exchange their temporary voter cards for PVCs but surprisingly, they were told their PVCs were unavailable without any further explanation on: why the PVCs were unavailable? What has INEC done about it? Or better, what is INEC doing about it? We ask: with the enormous resources at INEC’s disposal, how many years will it take INEC to provide PVCs to the less than 2million voting population in Kwara State?
We are mindful of the fact that INEC recently announced that it will conduct fresh registration exercise in 76 polling units across eight (8) LGAs where INEC admitted it did not properly capture the thumbprints of some electorate during 2010/2011 registration.
For instance, INEC admitted that just one polling unit was affected in Asa LG, whereas, our party members in about 22 polling units have confirmed the unavailability of their PVCs.
In Ilorin South LG, INEC claimed 2 polling units were affected, however, the complaint from electorates spread across about 4 wards in the LG.
In Moro LG, INEC said 34 polling units were affected, however, there is virtually no polling unit in the entire LG without issues of unavailability of PVCs.
In Offa LG, INEC claimed just one (1) polling unit was affected, whereas, our party members can not get their PVCs in about 4 political wards.
In Ilorin East LG, Afeyin 007 unit: only 29 PVCs are available out of 500 PVCs. Ayetoro 023: only 128 PVCs are available out 401 PVCs. Alalubosa Unit 021: only 359 PVCs are available out of 600 PVCs.
It is the same story in other units like Alalubosa 022, Dangiwa 015, Apata Yakuba 017, Oke – Oyi 004: only 123 PVCs are available out of 500 PVCs, Oke-Oyi 024: only 218 PVCs are available out of 500 PVCs. Aribi, Agbeyangi 006, Agbeyangi 007, Agbeyangi 017, Ibagun and others too numerous to mention. Whereas INEC claimed only 23 polling units were affected in this LG, the reality shows that irregularities were visible in almost all polling units.
In Ilorin West LG, which did not appear on the list of affected LG as announced by INEC, the list of polling units where CNPP members have been unable to obtain their PVCs is endless. They include: Ago Olowo 1, Ago Olowo 025, Ago Olowo 2, Ago Olowo 032, Ojibara 1&2, Ode fara 023, Ode Sefura, Ode Afase, Baboko, Oko erin ii, Wara Osin I, Ode olowomesan, Ode Eleshinla 033, Ode-karebu, Zarumi – Ojuekun and Ode Asileke 020 among others.
The story is basically the same or worse in other Local government areas like;Edu and Ekiti.
With this unfortunate development, we must state that we have no confidence in INEC and the entire exercise. We are restricted by facts and happenings to conclude that there is a deliberate ploy by INEC to disenfranchise thousands of CNPP members from participating in the 2015 general elections.
Since the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has maintained silence and PDP members have not complained about unavailability of their PVCs, the CNPP assumes that INEC has indeed made provisions for all PDP members in Kwara State. Maybe, INEC is now working in conspiracy with PDP, the CNPP can not authoritatively confirm but the neutrality of INEC as an umpire in any electoral contest is being put to test. The credibility of INEC is at serious risk and if INEC Chairman and INEC REC are indeed men of integrity, the CNPP wants integrity and credibility to reflect in the entire process of PVCs provision and distribution in Kwara State with immediate effect. Anything short of the condition highlighted will be unacceptable to the CNPP family in Kwara State and Nigeria. We ask: what is the fate of those people who could not obtain the PVCs?
We call for calmness from thousands of CNPP members in Kwara State who have confirmed the unavailability of their PVCs, we expect INEC to do justice forthwith and promptly.
Meanwhile, the CNPP condemns in strong terms the violent attacks on our members, INEC agents and disruption of Permanent Voter Card (PVC) distribution exercise in Ilorin by political thugs on the order of a PDP Chieftain, Mr Dele Belgore.
To say the least, Mr Belgore’s action is shameful, inglorious and unacceptable.
Mr Dele Belgore who was away at Abuja and Lagos when leaders and members of political parties associated with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to sensitize Kwarans on the PVC distribution and Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, was visibly terrified and frightened when he got to his polling booth at Oke Ogun Ajanaku zone, Ilorin South, Ilorin to discover men, women and youths of various political parties had mobilised themselves en masse to the polling unit for the PVC distribution exercise, maybe sensing the development will equate to his defeat at the polling unit in the forthcoming election, Mr Dele Belgore ordered his political thugs to disrupt the exercise and attack our members.
The INEC agents at the polling unit were injured and many of our members were severely wounded that they had to be rushed to hospitals for immediate medical intervention.
When Mr Dele Belgore got to his polling unit and his unpopularity was apparent, he should have been civil and reasonable enough to woo the people instead of ordering his heavily-armed thugs to terrorise our party members and INEC agents. It is totally unacceptable to the CNPP.
Meanwhile, we wonder why Mr Dele Belgore, a former governorship aspirant, would decide to truncate and subvert a simple democratic process due to his personal and selfish interests. If a governorship hopeful could order that arms should be freely used on Kwarans during a mere PVC distribution exercise, the people of Kwara State should be mindful that the same personality might call for their heads during the election.
The shameful and inglorious action of Mr Dele Belgore speaks volume of the undemocratic and evil plan of himself and his party (PDP) to manipulate and rig the 2015 general elections in Kwara State.
We warn Mr Dele Belgore that his personal and unpopular ambition to govern Kwara State is not worth the life of any Kwaran. The people he seeks to govern are victims of his brutal tendencies today, does he want to govern dead bodies?
CNPP calls on security agencies to investigate the inglorious action of Mr Dele Belgore and the violent attacks on INEC agents and APC members by Mr Belgore’s thugs. Nobody is above the law. Justice should be done and seen to have been done.
Gentlemen of the press, thanks for listening.
Hon Adebayo A. Lawal
Chairman, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Kwara State.
Chairman, Action Alliance (AA).
Alhaji Adebayo M. Gambari
Chairman, Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD).
Comrade Mobolaje Ibrahim
Chairman, African People Alliance (APA).
Alhaji Ishola Balogun Fulani,
Chairman, All Progressives Congress,
Engineer Sulaiman Ajayi,
Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance.
Hon. Bamidele Omotosho,
Chairman, Citizens Popular Party (CPP).
Alhaji Abdurahaman Omotosho,
Chairman, Kowa Party (KP).
Mr J. A. Babalola,
Chairman, Labour Party (LP).
Prince Tayo Babatunde,
Chairman, Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP).
Mr Samuel Akande,
Chairman, National Conscience Party (NCP).
Deacon Samuel Ayanleye,
Chairman, New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
Mr Jacob Atolagbe,
Chairman, People for Democratic Change (PDC).
Prince Olufemi Adeleke,
Chairman, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA),
Prince Deji Oyekunle,
Chairman, Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN).
Hon. Lekan Alabi,
Chairman, Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Mr David B. Oshin (JP),
Chairman, United Democratic Party (UDP).
Hon. Abu D. Ifabiyi,
Chairman, United Progressive Party (UPP).
Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Kwara State.