By Oniovosa Akpojevwe

 

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INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu

A stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in Delta State, Comrade Francis Obule has advocated for the introduction of Option A4 electioneering system to dramatically reduce buying of votes during election.

Comrade Obule who made this suggestion to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a chat with newsmen in Warri said that Option A4 has greater advantage compared to the secret ballot whereby a voter would be induced with money to buy his/her conscience and vote for a wrong candidate with poor manifesto in secret ballot.

He noted that Option A4 would help a lot because voters will cue behind their candidate(s) or line up by the party logo and votes would be counted and figures announced right there at the polling station and everybody would know who won in that ward or district, adding that was what made M.K.O Abiola clearly won the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida.

Comrade Obule pointed out that secret ballot voting has promoted corruption and this has helped in election rigging or falsification of election results as the recent case of election in Ekiti State, where International Observers condemned both parties particularly the APC and PDP that were allegedly involved in buying voters conscience with money, stressing that offering money to voters during election is part of rigging.

According to him “We are not moving forward in Nigeria. We need free and fair election where a credible and acceptable candidate emerges winner. The money budgeted for the election is too much. What do you (FG) want to use that kind of money for? Is it to construct roads or build bridges? Is it for buying machines or ballot boxes? It was estimated that we are about 170-190 million people in Nigeria. How many have registered and ready to cast their votes? The money for the general election is too much, they should find a way to reduce it”, he added.

He said that if the Buhari led administration claimed to be sincere in fighting corruption, then that money budgeted for the election is too much, if they don’t have other motive behind it, adding that everything  (prices) under this administration has gone up astronomically and the masses are suffering.

Comrade Obule stated that the National Assembly cannot sacrifice part of their allowances because they too are contesting and need money to run their election, adding that President Buhari should use supplementary budget to raise money for the election.

“People should be allowed to vote according to their conscience. And let our votes count and the actual winner declared so that people know the true winner of 2019 election. Let us test the popularity of each candidate and election should be free and credible. Let us be neutral, let the police, the army and the paramilitary be neutral, they should not take side in supporting one candidate or party against another.

Comrade Obule who is the chairman of DESOPADEC Indigenous Contractors Forum suggested that election results should be made known by each state before it is announced by INEC at the federal level, stressing that INEC should not announce election results directly at Abuja because there can be changes or manipulation of figures and who failed before could be declared winner and that is not good for democracy.