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INEC’s ban on smart phones in polling booths unsettles PDP



iReporters News.


AHEAD of the Osun State governorship election on Saturday and a day after the Independent National Electoral Commission placed a ban on the use of mobile phones and cameras inside polling booths, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday kicked against the directive.

INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the ban on Monday in Osogbo at a stakeholders’ forum ahead of the poll, said the electoral umpire will not allow voters into the booths with their telephones, cameras and any other device that can take pictures.

The INEC chair said the measure would help to curb the issue of vote-buying and vote-selling which he described as a new strategy adopted by politicians to rig elections.

He said the decision was reached because of the alarm raised by stakeholders that politicians had adopted ‘see and buy’ as a new rigging method.

The professor explained the measure was being taken to prevent vote-buying and vote-selling during the Osun governorship poll and subsequent elections.

Yakubu said: “I wish to now turn to the worrisome issue of vote-buying. Over the years, the Commission has taken several steps to improve our electoral process. Today, malpractices such as ballot box snatching and stuffing, multiple voting, diversion of election materials, hijacking of election personnel, falsification of results and sundry violations of the electoral law have been considerably addressed.”

But the PDP condemned the decision of the electoral umpire to ban the use of smart phones in polling units.

Its National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus accused INEC of a surreptitious move to prevent the global community from knowing its plan to rig the 2019 general elections.

Governor Seriake Dickson’s Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. FIdelis Soriwei, as having made the comment yesterday during a meeting with stakeholders from Bayelsa East Senatorial District in Yenagoa.

Secondus said that it was quite puzzling that the commission would attempt to prevent the use of smart phone, which he described as the easiest means of communication in the society, during elections.

He alleged that the decision to ban the use of recording devices was the strategy of INEC and the APC to rig the general elections last year.

The PDP chair argued that the commission by that singular act had sent the country to the dark, primitive era.

He also restated his opposition of President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to sign the amended Electoral Act.

Secondus said: “We have all heard what the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, said about the decision to ban the use of smart phones in the polling units. All over the world, a smart phone is the easiest way of communication.

“What they have said clearly shows that the commission in connivance with the All Progressives Congress have perfected a rigging strategy for the next election.

“In fact, INEC has sent Nigeria back to the primitive days.

“The same plan to rig the 2019 election is responsible for the refusal of the President to sign the amended Electoral Act because the card reader must be used.

“Our position is that INEC is wrong, there is nowhere in the constitution or in the Electoral Act, where smart phones are banned.

“INEC, if you throw this country to crisis, you will be held responsible.”

Secondus said that Nigeria was under siege as the Federal Government introduced an obnoxious suspension of the people right to freedom in the country.

He lamented that the APC introduced dictatorial tendencies that were worse that the repression witnessed under the military.

Secondus also accused the Federal Government òf borrowing N11 trillion in three years in spite of the huge amount of money budgeted yearly to run the government.

He said that the nation’s debt profile hit the highest of all time under the APC-led Federal Government.

Secondus said: “We have borrowed N11 trillion and you don’t feel the impact of the budget except in Daura.

“Nigeria has witnessed nepotism that has never been felt this way in this country.

“The international community is worried about Nigeria. The country is broke; our debt profile has risen to highest level.

“Nigeria is under siege. Freedom and rights have denied our people. .The country is going through very difficult and trying the moments.”

Dickson urged the people of the Niger Delta to give the expected support to Secondus in his efforts to lead the PDP to electoral victory next year, describing the PDP as the party of the oil-rich region.

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