Political parties with candidates vying for Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency seat in Bauchi State have rejected alleged moves by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to relocate the constituency’s collation centre just weeks to the 2019 elections.
The Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency seat is currently occupied by Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the All Progressives Congress (APC) in September last year.
The alleged moves by INEC, according to a statement issued by Mr. Turaki Hasan, Dogara’s media aide, has fuelled speculations that there is a plot to cause crisis in the area to pave way for rigging in favour of the ruling APC.
The parties, which leaders attended the meeting included the PDP, Social Democratic Party (SDP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), among others.
In a communique at the end of their meeting held in Tafawa Balewa Local Government, Bauchi State at the weekend, the parties made their position known to the electoral body on Friday January 11, 2019 in the three Local Government areas.
The parties in the communiqué, made available to newsmen on Sunday by Mr. Hassan, said: “All party leaders present at the meeting strongly rejected the proposal tabled by INEC to move the Constituency Collation Centre from Zwall in Tafawa Balewa Local Government to Dass or any other place.
“That Zwall was chosen as the new collation centre in March 2015 few days to the 2015 general elections on the recommendations of the Federal Government for security reasons.”
“That the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on March 23, 2015, ordered that the collation centre should remain in Zwall.
“That any attempt by INEC to move the collation centre will contradict the subsisting judgment of the court and could constitute contempt of court.
“That all stakeholders agreed that the centre be cited at Zwall and should, therefore, remain there.”
They reasoned that Zwall is on the Federal Highway linking all the three LGAs and is central and easily accessible from all the three LGAs.
The parties also maintained that Zwall had not witnessed any violence or crisis, adding that since 2015, there was no crisis in not only Zwall, but the entire Federal Constituency that would warrant such “a sudden, ill-advised, and premeditated action by INEC which is supposed to be an unbiased and neutral umpire.”
They also accused INEC of plotting to convene another meeting of select few just to endorse the “surreptitious moves”, saying, “We are also aware that INEC wants to convene a surreptitious meeting in its office in Bauchi of so-called stakeholders any anytime soon where only a handful of people would be invited, granted access and will be made to sign a prepared document endorsing the proposal.”
The added: “INEC should know that our area has witnessed unprecedented peace in the last four years and should not allow itself to be used to cause crisis with this hidden agenda. We want a peaceful, free and fair election.
“Consequent upon the above, we therefore totally and unequivocally oppose, reject and shall resist every attempt by INEC to move the collation centre from Zwall in Tafawa Balewa LGA not only to Dass but to any other location for that matter.”
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