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ACN DEMANDS RESIGNATION OF NYSC CHAIRMAN OVER THREAT ON INEC AD HOC STAFF

By NBF News
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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has called for the removal of Chairman of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Governing Board in Cross River, Chief Linus Okom, over his alleged threat on NYSC members serving as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ad hoc staff in the elections.

In a press briefing in Calabar, state Chairman of the party, Cletus Obun, said some NYSC members had confessed that Chief Okom threatened to extend their service year by one year if they did not deliver the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in the aborted April 2 elections.

The SMS purportedly sent by corps members and made available to Daily Sun, reads in part: 'Help, we are corps members. Chairman of NYSC board in Cross River has warned we must deliver PDP or face one year extension.' According to Obun, 'the PDP also tempted corps members with monetary inducements, besides other threat messages that are also sent to our candidates, particularly our governorship and senatorial candidates.'

He said 13 threat messages had been sent to ACN candidates and, therefore, appealed to security operatives to ensure adequate protection of lives and property of members of the opposition.

Obun further said no member of his party had been disqualified as speculated and submitted that 'since some policemen on election duty have been severely compromised, the police authorities should immediately reshuffle the DPO to ensure neutrality of officers.'

He posited that about six INEC ad hoc staff were heavily induced financially in Akamkpa Local Government Area to write results even when elections were yet to take place on the day of the ill-fated elections.

The party chairman, however, advised the electoral body to ensure it used helicopter to convey electoral materials to difficult areas as was done during the 1979 and 1983 general elections since, according to him, it would be practically difficult to convey the materials by road due to such terrain.

The ACN boss further stated that his party was aware of internal sabotage in INEC, allegedly orchestrated by the PDP but warned that 'those who do not want us to have elections in this country should know that they shall not stay in power by any other means.'

However, in a press statement signed by the PDP state Chairman, Ekpo Okon, and aired on state broadcasting radio, the party denied ever issuing such threat messages to corps members and warned the opposition party to desist from engaging in a campaign of calumny.

Ekpo, who doubles as a commissioner at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board, said some paid agents were out to ruin the electoral chances of the ruling party and advised all stakeholders to play the game by the rules rather than engaging in politics of mudslinging and blackmail.