The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has accused the Election Monitoring and Observation Unit of INEC of engaging in gross partisanship that is capable of ruining the credibility of the Oct. 20th governorship poll in Ondo State.
In a statement issued in Osogbo, Osun State, on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party specifically accused the Unit of colluding with the ruling Labour Party (LP) in the state to remove from the list of accredited election observers certain groups they deemed not favourably disposed towards their plan to manipulate the election.
It said while this Unit has de-accredited the Coalition of Democrats for Election Reforms (CODER) on the basis of a petition by LP, it has replaced CODER with Women Arise.
“The partisanship of Women Arise as far as the Ondo State election is concerned is glaring as the group is led by Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin,wife of Mr. Yinka Odumakin who has publicly declared his support for Gov. Olusegun Mimiko in the forthcoming election.
Mr. Odumakin is also a known ally of Pastor Tunde Bakare, who has also declared his support for the incumbent governor.
“Another partisan group that has been accredited by INEC to monitor the election is the Rights Monitoring Group (RMG), led by Femi Aduwo, a visible supporter for the Labour Party in the Social Media. And while each Election Observer group is allowed a maximum of 100 observers, the RMG has been given over 1,500 accreditation tags by this Unit, with the alleged plan that these tags will be utilized by LP thugs who will pose as RMG election observers on 20 October.
“It is worth noting that in the midst of all this, CODER has yet to be formally communicated as to why it was de-accredited. Neither was it given the opportunity to defend itself against whatever was contained in the LP petition that INEC relied upon to de-accredit it. This is far from what is expected from a supposedly-unbiased umpire.
“Against the foregoing, we are compelled to call on INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega, who may not be privy to these shenanigans to investigate the activities of this Unit which are capable of ruining the credibility of the electoral body, and act decisively and appropriately.
“The same Unit is said to have compromised INEC by colluding with some political parties in past elections as it reportedly supplied thugs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with accreditation tags for the 2010 governorship election in Anambra State, for instance.
“The fake election observers were subsequently arrested by security agents and the case is pending at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Awka, with no attempt made to prosecute the offenders,” ACN said.
The party also urged the presidency, security agencies, all Nigerians and members of the diplomatic community to take note of the gross partisanship of this Unit and the impact its nefarious activities may have on efforts to ensure that the Ondo State Governorship election is free, fair and credible.
It also demanded the immediate de-accreditation of both Women Arise and the RMG as Election Observers for the Ondo State Governorship poll, in the interest of justice and fair play.