ACN Calls For Audit Of Ballot Papers Before Saturday's NASS Poll

Source: THEWILL. -

KANO, April 05, (THEWILL) - The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Katsina State on Tuesday called for a total audit of the ballot papers that had been used before the National Assembly elections were cancelled last Saturday.

The party raised fresh concerns about the botched elections and the security of the voting materials that had been released in the state.

This is despite assurances by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it had tracked the voting materials, especially the ballot papers, and the arrest of at least one INEC electoral officer who could not account for the ballot papers issued to him.

The ACN alleged that on election day, ballot papers from the INEC state office in Katsina were more than the number of registered voters at many polling units.

THEWILL was however unable to not make an independent confirmation of this allegation as at press time.

Chairman ACN State Caucus, Bello Dankano, said in Katsina, the state capital, that INEC had a lot of explanations to give before the next Saturday’s rescheduled polls.

“We observed that ballot papers sent from the national headquarters in Abuja to Katsina State exceeded, in most constituencies, the total number of registered voters,” Dankano said.

Dankano also explained in a letter to the resident electoral commissioner on the parties observations on the botched National Assembly elections that despite the deluge of ballot papers from Abuja, most polling stations lacked the essential material.

“The state INEC refused to distribute ballot papers in accordance with the total number of registered voters in each constituency. Your staff explained the reason for hoarding part of the ballot papers because it was not practicable to have 100 per cent voter turn out.

“We found this explanation strange, spurious and lacking in transparency, as events on election day showed a massive turn out of voters across the state,” Dankano added.

The ACN chieftain alleged that the few locations where electoral materials arrived on time were locations populated by Peoples Democratic Party supporters, while areas starved of materials were mostly opposition strongholds.

He listed Safana, Danmusa, Kaita and Dutsinma local government areas as the PDP strongholds where there had been sufficient materials.

Dankano said information from its agents that monitored the election before it was aborted last Saturday indicated the electoral officers in the various local government areas were conniving with the agents of the ruling PDP to truncate the conduct of free and fair elections in Katsina State.

The ACN chieftain therefore appealed to INEC to investigate all the local government electoral offices where anomalies, such as shortage of materials, ballot box snatching and vote buying took place before the election was cancelled.

At the INEC state office, the situation was calm. The REC was said to have travelled to Abuja to attend a crucial meeting that would address all the observations and allegations of the ACN in the state.

Only soldiers and policemen maintained a close watch on the office complex, the way they had done since last Friday.