MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Members of Nsukka Professionals Association (NPA), a non-partisan pressure group have alerted security agencies about possible out break of violence and high level malpractice in parts of Enugu State during the Governorship and State Assembly Elections holding Saturday 18th March, 2023.
Addressing crime reporters on Tuesday at the Mike Okiro Media Center, Oduduwa Ikeja Lagos, the NPA members led by their President, Mr. Charles Nwodo (jr) said they had gotten credible reports of plans by desperate politicians in Enugu State to compromise key officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the State with a view to frustrate the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.
According to the Association, “we are informed that an INEC Enugu State official; Mrs. Ifenna Onoh has been specifically accused of being the coordinator of the plot to disenfranchise Enugu voters. We call on the Chairman of INEC Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to immediately rescue this staff from all official activities related to the forthcoming election so as to reinforce the credibility of the electoral process and also protect the career of this staff in the event that she is innocent of the accusation.”
In a speech read by the Association’s President; Mr. Charles Nwodo at the conference, concerns were raised about the inability of security agencies to resolve the recent high profile assassination of a Labour Party Senatorial Candidate in Enugu East who was murdered and burnt to ashes few days preceding the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly elections. The Nsukka Professionals Association expressed worry that uptil now no clue has been established as to who were behind the gruesome murder, adding that no arrest has been made.
While announcing a donation of N1million to family of the slain politician, NPA implored the Inspector General of Police to dispatch a special team of detectives to Enugu State with a mandate to seek out and apprehend all those directly or indirectly connected with the heinous crime no matter their status or extent of connections in the society.
Still worried about uncertainties associated with the Saturday Governorship and Assembly Elections, the Nsukka Professionals said they had credible reports about plans by one of the political parties to disrupt elections in parts of Enugu State which are considered as strongholds of other parties notably Isi Uzo Local Government Area and the six local government areas that make up the Enugu North Senatorial Zone. This, they pointed out is capable of orchestrating wholesale disenfranchisement of voters in those areas through vote buying and selling, sponsored violence, intimidation and harassment of the voters on election day.
According to NPA, credible reports have indicated plans by some politicians to import armed thugs and cultists into Enugu North Senatorial Zone, adorn them in police and army uniforms and deploy them to terrorize voters and cause widespread mayhem to pave way for the cancellation of results across Isi-Uzo and the six local government areas of Enugu North Senatorial Zone.
There are credible reports of plans to disrupt the election in targeted polling units and wards through electronic disruption (hacking) of the BVAS and IRev interface by professional hackers contracted by one of the political parties for purposes of compromising the electoral process by transmitting pre-determined fake results to INEC portal.
In the light of the glaring threats, the Nsukka Professionals have considered it expedient to raise alarm “about these disturbing pieces of information and invite the attention of President Buhari, Inspector General of Police, Chief of Defense Staff, INEC Chairman, the international community and others of the looming danger that these developments portend for Enugu State and Nigeria, and indeed to the survival of democracy in our land should these plans materialize.”
The Association has therefore appealed to security agencies to pay special attention to Enugu State to ensure that the Governorship and Assembly Elections hold peacefully in the State particularly in the identified zones in Enugu North Senatorial Zone. They sued for a free and fair election in the areas.
Since youths are often used to unleash violence and commit malpractice at elections, NPA has enjoined parents in Enugu State to warn their children and wards against being used by the desperate politicians.