WADA, AWONIYI GROUP DENIES ALLEGED PLAN TO RIG POLLS
BY LEKE ADESERI
LOKOJA-The Campaign Organisation of Mr. Idris Wada and Mr. Yomi Awoniyi, candidate and running mate, respectively of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for the December 3 governorship election in Kogi State, yesterday, reacted to allegations by National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Chief Bisi Akande, that the ruling PDP in the state had stockpiled arms and Army uniforms for the purposes of intimidation of the electorate and rigging the election in its favour.
It described the allegations as baseless, laced with falsehood and an attempt by ACN 'to disguise its nefarious activities designed to cause mayhem and confusion during and after the election.'
Citing the strength of PDP in the state where it controlled all the elective seats in the state and National Assembly with the exception of two seats controlled by ACN, it described the allegations as the latest of the opposition party's stock in trade to always cry wolf where there was none, adding that there was no iota of truth in the 'unsubstantiated allegations'.
The statement by Mr. Oshiomieh Michael of the Media Committee of Wada/Awoniyi Campaign Organisation in Lokoja, Kogi State Capital, said, 'we would ordinarily have wanted to remain silent about their unsubstantiated claims, since it is usual for losers and opposition to cry foul where there is none.
'But for the purpose of putting the record straight and for emphasis, we wish to state that there is no iota of truth in these baseless allegations, most especially considering the strength of PDP in the state. We are mostly concerned when elder statesmen engage in falsehood. The baseless claims, all in the name of politics, only show how their depth, morality and the content of character have plummeted.
'For the avoidance of doubts, ACN is only crying wolf all in an attempt to disguise its nefarious activities designed to cause mayhem and confusion during and after the election.
'We are aware that ACN recently sent 15 18-seater buses filled with cultists from an ACN-controlled state to hold discussion with the Kogi chapter on plans to snatch ballot boxes and perpetuate all manner of electoral malpractices.
'A serving ACN governor was dispatched to Kogi to come and train agents on how to compromise the voting process to the benefit of his party.'
Saying CAN has no viable structures on ground, the statement recalled that ACN only has a seat in the state and National Assembly while all other elective offices in the state in the last eight years have been PDP controlled and accused ACN leaders of trying to reap where they did not sow.
According to the statement, the opposition ACN had perpetrated all manners of electoral fraud, including printed PDP T-shirts to be worn by its members and to be video recorded on Election Day which it intended to present in court as evidence of PDP misdeeds.
Alleging that it has clear evidence of ACN's plot to amass weapons ahead of the December poll of which the PDP leadership in the state had made detailed reports to the police for investigation, the statement said 'PDP is the only party that has traversed the nooks and crannies of the state selling its manifestoes and canvassing for votes. The quality of PDP candidates who are sound professionals, the crowd at our rallies and the follow up house-to-house campaign show a high level of acceptance of our candidates and message…we appeal to the electorate not to be deterred by the noise made by the wild-wild-west strangers who think infiltrating the media with lies is what will sway the people's conscience.'
Akande was reported by a national daily (not The Guardian) to have raised the alarm to the effect that the PDP planned to use weapons and thugs in army uniform to rig the December 3 governorship election in the state.
Akande reportedly made the allegation in Lokoja at a rally in support of the party's governorship candidate, Prince Abubakar Audu, attended by the six ACN governors. The ACN Chairman was quoted in the statement as saying to the crowd of supporters at the Lokoja Township Stadium: 'What we are saying and we have been telling you is that we are going to send your children to school.
But they are piling guns to fight you. Are you going to fight them? Are you going to vote for the killers? Don't be afraid of their guns. Your God is bigger than all the arsenals they are piling together. They have enough money to buy guns because they stole your money. The money is there. When we are in control, we will spend the money for you.'