Former Vice President of Nigeria and APC Chieftain, Atiku Abubakar, has said that INEC and security officials implicated in the conduct of last weekend’s governorship election in Taraba State should be removed and replaced with new personnel in the rerun election in the state.
The former Vice President made the suggestion while welcoming INEC’s decision to cancel the gubernatorial election results in some local government areas of Taraba State and declare the outcome of last Saturday’s polls in the state inconclusive.
In a statement released on Wednesday in Abuja, the Turaki Adamawa expressed agreement with the widespread reports of irregularities in some local governments of the state.
“These irregularities included using armed personnel to intimidate voters,” Atiku said.
He added that armed soldiers were attached to Senator Emmanuel Bwacha; Joel Ikenya, a current minister; as well as Senator Anthony Manzo, chief of staff to senator David Mark.
He said that these soldiers engaged in brazen acts that violated the electoral act including ballot-box snatching.
“Elections should not be militarised. Nigeria is a democracy, not a dictatorship. Citizens should be able to go out and vote without fear of being threatened with the nuzzle of a gun,” Atiku said.
He said that election violations were noticeably perpetrated in Southern Taraba, specifically in Wukari, Takum, Kurmi and Donga local councils.
He added that the act was also perpetrated in the North, particularly in Lau and Yoro where Manzo comes from.
Atiku noted that thousands of troops were deployed to these areas and electoral officers were heavily compromised.
“These people should not be allowed to go back during the rerun election,” Atiku said, adding that “no troops should be allowed nearby.”
Atiku also called on the Inspector General of Police to replace security personnel in Taraba with new teams from neighbouring Gombe, Bauchi and Adamawa, during the period of the rerun elections.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
-Ex VP Atiku Abubakar on Restructuring.
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