ACN Condemns Conflicting Directives On 2011 Elections
SAN FRANCISCO, March 31, (THEWILL) - The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has expressed grave concern over the conflicting directives being issued by government officials over the forthcoming polls, wondering who indeed is in charge of the elections.
In a statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the latest of such conflicting signals came from the National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Owoye Azazi, who said voters cannot stay at the polling stations after voting, even when they conduct themselves peacefully..
It said the NSA's directive is in conflict with the one from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, that voters can indeed stay back to witness vote counting, as long as they are peaceful.
''We also note that the Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, had warned voters against using their phone cameras to record proceedings at the polling stations, until the warning was countered by the INEC Chair..
''Now that the NSA has joined in what seems to be an anti-voter's campaign, we have every reason to be concerned about the neutrality of the two officials (NSA and IGP) who, in any case, have shown their bias through their comments,'' ACN said.
The party accused the NSA and the IGP of deliberately muddling the waters, in the interest of their paymasters, reminding them however that the laws of the land give INEC, not the police or the NSA, control over elections.
''Apparently, both officials (NSA and IGP) have taken the position that whatever INEC wants to do to ensure free and fair elections, they are ready to pollute. We know that by law, only INEC has control over elections, and the commission has said people can stay back in peace after voting and can use their phones and cameras to record proceedings.
''Therefore, we urge Nigerians to disregard the self-serving directives from any other officials apart from those of INEC. We will also like to put the NSA and the IGP on notice that they will be held responsible for any failure of the elections,'' it said.
Meanwhile, the ACN has cried out over the information making the rounds over alleged plans to tamper with the telecommunications networks in the country to hamper communication during the election on Saturday and in subsequent ones.
''We have heard that the authorities want to ensure that phones will not work well on the day of the elections. We do not know how authentic this information is, but we are worried that in certain states, including Kwara, voice and data services on some mobile networks have either stopped functioning or are very erratic.
''This is a worrisome development, because poor communication on election days can only serve the interest of those bent on rigging the polls and fomenting trouble. Therefore, we urged the telecommunications company not to allow themselves to be used against the success of the general elections by ensuring that their networks are functioning at full throttle before, during and after the elections,'' the party said.