INEC plotting to make S’East votes insignificant – group
By Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
An Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Odinala Cultural Heritage Foundation (OCHIE Igbo) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of collaborating with some ethnic groups to plot to make votes from the south east region very insignificant.
The group also blamed the INEC for the low voter registration figures from the Southeast, accusing the commission of allocating to the region, figures that have no bearing with reality.
This is also as the group alleged that substantial resources of the commission were focused on Internally Displaced People’s (IDP) camps in the north more than what is available in the Southeast.
National president of the group, Dr. Chukwuma Orji, told newsmen in Owerri, the Imo state capital that after monitoring events leading to the general election since 2018, it became apparent that there was an institutional gang-up against Ndigbo in the forthcoming elections. He described the design as being deliberate ‘and systematically driven to choke the votes of Ndigbo’ adding that the intention could be to sustain the myth that Igbo votes are insignificant in the political calculation of Nigeria.
Orji disclosed that, on March 19, 2018, the group wrote a letter to the chairman of INEC, with the caption ‘Allocation of 8,239, 093 (Eight Million Two Hundred Thirty Nine Thousand and Ninety-Three) as Number of Registered Voters in the Southeast – Request for Audience’, in which the group demanded clarification from the Commission on how they arrived at the figures being bandied in the media.
He noted that INEC replied the letter promising to schedule a meeting with the group but had regrettably been evading the meeting. “We are alarmed at the ominous silence of the electoral body, which tends to authenticate the figures being bandied about in the media. It is an undisputable fact that, after the natives in any given community in Nigeria, Igbo population leads. In a world where human population is continually in geometric progression, it is impossible for our population to be in decline. Given our level of education and lifestyle, it becomes antithetical to contemplate such a steep decline in Igbo population, which the INEC purported data claims, as being reported by news organisations.”
Continuing, Orji said: “The Commission under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu is a cesspool of corruption. Despite all the billions approved for INEC, the Commission is yet to print PVC belonging to many registered voters. It is quite ironical that the Commission practically relocated its registration and PVC collection activities to the Internally Displaced Person’s (IDP) camp, but couldn’t replicate such gesture in the Southeast.”
The group lamented that most Igbo that transferred their voting centres to the Southeast had not got their PVC less than three days to the elections. “While the Commission has paid deaf ears to our credible and verifiable complaint, it has also committed itself to measures that continue to portray Southeast as the dwelling place of some five percent votes. They have further invented and invested in technical disenfranchisement of eligible voters in Southeast. No fewer than 20 million votes belonging to Southeast are presently in jeopardy. The Commission through some amorphous institutional technicalities has deliberately buried 20 million votes belonging to Ndigbo”’ the group lamented.