The Independent Electoral Commission in Benue State says it is working with the security agencies to recover Permanent Voters Cards that were unlawfully collected and hidden by politicians across the state.
Dr Nentawe Tilwatda, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Benue, said this on Saturday in Makurdi during an interactive session with journalists, political parties and civil society organisations toward ensuring peaceful 2019 polls in the state.
Tilwatda said the commission discovered about 1,300 of such voters cards hidden in two locations in some local government areas of the state.
He said such cards were obtained from owners under various pretexts, one of which was to help process fertilizers or other scarce commodities and deliberately kept them away from their owners.
“They plan to mop up voters cards to disenfranchise electorate in places where they are not strong,” said the INEC boss.
He, therefore, appealed to voters not to surrender their voter’s cards to politicians or sell them to anyone.
The INEC commissioner denied claims that the All Progressives Congress in Benue State did not hold its governorship primaries.
“The APC held primaries by consensus. I was given a letter of consensus endorsed by all aspirants. That was what I relied on to do my report. Yes, the primary election was shifted a couple of times but they eventually held it. This I can testify to,” he said.
He said the commission was yet to compile a list of candidates vying for elective offices because the window for substitution was still open to political parties.
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Stop hate speech, Obi tells El Rufai
The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Peter Obi, on Saturday asked governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State to stop making inflammatory statements that could incite hate amongst Nigerians.
Obi was reacting to El Rufai’s tweet that Obi is “a tribal bigot.”
El Rufai had tweeted that Obi stopped him from moving around Anambra State during the governorship election in the State in 2010.
But Obi while answering questions from journalists on the matter at a youth programme in Nnewi, Anambra State, said he was shocked to read such an outburst of hate from El Rufai, especially when “the statement came unprovoked.
He said, “This is suggesting that it was what he sat down to think of rather than thinking about how to solve the many problems plaguing the country.
“What His Excellency, Gov. Nasir Ahmad El Rufai said about me has been brought to my attention. I believe that as we grow older and are saddled with more responsibilities, we are expected to become circumspect in our thinking and avoid recklessness in our speeches and utterances.
“How does the circumstance he referred to relate to bigotry to warrant such a label?
“All I do for people like El Rufai is to pray for them and encourage them to concentrate on doing those things that will better the lots of Nigerians rather than engage in hate speeches that will divide and destroy the country.
“At this difficult times in our country, when thousands of our brothers and sisters across ethnic divide are killed all over the country, including innocent citizens in Kaduna state; millions of our children from all the parts of the country are out of school; millions of Nigerian youths from all the parts of the country are without jobs, our pre-occupation, especially among those that are in government should not be making reckless speeches.
“What our leaders should be doing today is seeking solutions to the numerous problems of our dear country.
“I am aware that during the said election he referred to, security agents merely restricted his movement because he had no business being in Anambra as I would not have been in Kaduna on an election day.”