The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has cautioned the Nigeria Police, the Army and other security agencies to “refrain from using their personnel to rig” tomorrow’s election in Edo State in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a press release issued by the coalition’s national co-spokesman, Comrade Mark Adebayo on Friday, the coalition said, “A practice whereby the government at the center would unleash security agencies on a state to help its candidate to rig and win elections through voter intimidation, aiding and abetting thugs to snatch boxes or disrupt votes where their main opponent is strong or engage in indiscriminate arrests of strong non-APC politicians on the eve elections as witnessed in Kogi State election and other states can no longer be tolerated.
“All such actions are inimical to the development of our democracy and are direct threats to the Nigerian State itself. The duties of security agencies at elections are limited to providing a safe atmosphere for the conduct of an election and the safety of the election officials and the voters. Engaging in anti-democratic activities like supporting the candidate of the Party governing at the center against the opponent is not only criminal but directly injurious to our democracy and national stability”.
The CUPP called on the international community to monitor the Edo governorship election with utmost attention and ensure that anyone seen committing electoral crimes be comprehensively sanctioned immediately.
“We commend the American government for the recent sanctions imposed on all those identified as election criminals in some states and we call on the European Union countries including the UK to follow suit by imposing comprehensive sanctions on all electoral criminals in Nigeria.”
It Noted that the sanctions by the United States did not go far enough because there were still many election offenders walking free in the country, some of whom, it said “are occupying high government positions. All these ones must be captured in the sanctions to serve as deterrent for others”.
The group appealed to all voters in Edo State to conduct themselves peacefully while staying vigilant to protect their votes in order to ensure they were not shortchanged.
“We caution the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct the election professionally and avoid any act that is tantamount to bias against any candidate. As the regulator of our electoral processes, INEC is expected to be transparent, impartial and just to all players in our elections,” CUPP said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had also on Thursday warned voters, political parties, election officials and security personnel, against “the do-or-die mentality to politics.”
He said he was passionately committed to free and fair elections, but that his own commitment was not enough if other actors at ground zero refused to abide by the rules.
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