By Kazeem Adekunle
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A pressure group, the Elections Transparency Group (ETG) has warned

the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the dangers

of involving fake or partisan observers and activists in the 2011

general elections, saying; “many of those presenting themselves as

independent election observers are agents of political parties,

especially those in the opposition.”
ETG, in a release signed by its Coordinator, Dr. Kazeem Adekunle said

INEC must take the issue of observers and self-appointed activists

serious this time so as to prevent the commission from being

hoodwinked into acting on fake reports.
The group said from reports available to it, most of the fake

observers used by opposition politicians during the 2007 elections are

now being assembled for the next general elections.

“As the general elections draw near, we are compelled by experiences

of the past to alert INEC on the danger inherent in the involvement of

fake or partisan election observers and activists in the monitoring of

the elections.
“For instance, one Dr. Azeez Olaniyan, one of those who paraded

themselves as independent observers during the 2009 rerun governorship

election in Ekiti State has now been appointed as Caretaker Chairman

of Ekiti Southwest Local Government by the Governor Kayode Fayemi-led

Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) government in the State.

“It is also on record that the said Dr. Olaniyan, presenting himself

as an observer, witnessed against the conduct of the election as

Prosecution Witness (PW38) at the tribunal and his evidence was part

of the reasons the election was nullified.
“However, with his appointment as a council chairman, it must be now

be clear to INEC and the general public that he (Olaniyan) was an

agent of the ACN, who has been rewarded for a job well done, and INEC

must avoid this kind of pitfall this time around.
“Also, we are aware that another witness of the ACN in the Ekiti

election case, Issa Raimi Oladimeji, who was PW10 was INEC

Registration Officer (RO1) for Ado Grammar School polling unit,

Ado-Ekiti during the just concluded voters registration exercise.

“Again, Mr. Femi Falana, who is one of the INEC legal counsel is as at

today the National President of the National Conscience Party (NCP).

“Also, he is a known sympathiser of the ACN and was part of the

party's electioneering campaigns during the 2009 rerun governorship

election in Ekiti State.
“It was on the basis of his sympathy for the ACN that he, alongside

others invaded the INEC Collation Centre, Ado-Ekiti on May 5, 2009 and

caused breakdown of law and order at the centre. The show of shame at

the centre was shown on NTA live.
“How an INEC that parades ACN agents as 'independent observers' and a

known partisan person as Falana as legal counsel can act objectively

during and after the elections is a question that Nigerians want

answers to.”