The All Progressives Congress (APC) has written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consider postponing the August 9 Osun State governorship election, if any voter would be disenfranchised.
It also reinforced its allegation that its members, supporters and sympathisers were being denied the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), which is mandatory for voting.
A statement by its spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday in Abuja, asked the commission to either allow all registered voters to vote with either of PVCs or temporary voter cards or shift the poll for all outstanding PVCs to be issued.
It was learnt that the letter to INEC was under the hand of the party’s national legal adviser, Dr Muiz Banire, with a list of those allegedly denied the PVCs in each of the 30 local government areas in the state attached.
The party noted that the letter and the two cases in court over troop deployment were concrete actions to ensure that all the candidates in the poll were provided with a level playing field and that the election would be free, fair, transparent and devoid of harassment and intimidation.
It noted that it had challenged in court the powers of the president to deploy troops to Osun State for the election and the power of the Inspector-General of Police to impose a curfew on any part of the state during the election.
It premised its call for postponement on the electoral commission not being able to guarantee that all registered voters would be given their PVCs before voting day or in the alternative allow all registered members in possession of INEC temporary voter cards to cast their votes in the election.
APC said the actions were aimed at avoiding a repeat of the alleged massive harassment, intimidation and arrest of opposition politicians witnessed during the Ekiti State governorship election, and to prevent any alleged illegal lock-down of Osun State, which turned out to be a ploy to pigeon-hole opposition politicians, while allowing the PDP members to move round freely during the Ekiti State polls.
The party said the letter to the INEC followed concerns expressed by the APC members in Osun State that they had so far been denied their PVCs under shady circumstances, a development that could be a ploy to massively disenfranchise the APC members and rig the election from source.
“In the first case filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos on July 15, we are seeking, among others, a declaration that by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered), it is ultra vires for the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to deploy members of the armed forces to Osun State for the purpose of the conduct of the governorship election scheduled for August 9.
“In the second case, also filed at the same court on July 17, we are seeking, among other reliefs, a declaration that by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered) and the Curfew Law of Osun State, CAP 36, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2001, it is ultra vires for the Inspector General of Police of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to impose curfew on any part of Osun State during the conduct of the governorship election scheduled to hold on August 9 or at any time whatsoever in any part of Nigeria.
“The actions have reinforced the credentials of our party as law-abiding and peaceful. Instead of resorting to self help as many would have done in the face of the many underhand tactics by the PDP-led federal government to stifle the opposition and skew the conditions in favour of the ruling party, we decided to embark on a legal challenge of the unlawful actions of the government.
“We are not seeking any favour beyond that all candidates in the election be allowed to have a level playing field for all registered voters to be able to cast their votes in an atmosphere devoid of violence, harassment and intimidation, and for the election itself to be conducted in substantial compliance with the law,” it said.
APC said popular participation is at the core of democratic governance, hence, a development in which registered voters, most of them from the opposition would not be allowed to vote based on the incompetence of the electoral authorities was anti-democratic.
“That is why we have written to the INEC to allow duly registered voters to exercise their franchise on August 9, whether or not they have PVCs or temporary voter cards. If this is not possible, the INEC should consider postponing the election until such a time that not one voter will be disenfranchised due to the incompetence, collusion or shenanigans of the INEC,” the party said.
It warned that the Osun State governorship election must not just be free, fair and transparent, but that it must be seen to be so by all stakeholders.