Bad omen- Stolen DDC machines, threat to democracy

THE SUN Newspaper

As the clock ticks toward the 2011 general election, there is an increasing fear among Nigerians that the exercise would be rigged and marred by irregularities.

Prominent Nigerians who spoke to Sunday Sun were unanimous that the recent disappearance of Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines for the registration of voters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, is a pointer to what the 2011 election holds in stock.

The former minister of finance and 1999 presidential flag bearer of the All Peoples Party (APP) and Alliance for Democracy (AD) joint ticket, Chief Olu Falae, was emphatic that the election would not be free and fair saying that the disappearance of the DDC machines was a sign that some people were already preparing to rig the forthcoming election.

He called for an interim government to succeed the present administration on May 29, 2011 when its tenure would expire and predicted that there would be anarchy if President Goodluck Jonathan goes ahead with the election.

Falae urged the National Assembly to pass a law for an amendment of the Constitution that would provide for an interim arrangement.

He cautioned that the nation would relapse into anarchy and crisis if it goes ahead with the election, regretting that time is already too short for any credible poll to be conducted before the handover date.

“We need a Bangladesh arrangement for a year or so. We do not have the time to conduct any meaningful election before May 29, 2011 when the present government would handover.

“There will be anarchy and crisis if they go on with this election. If we want a credible poll, the National Assembly has to first of all amend the constitution to provide for an interim government that would plan and conduct an election that would be acceptable to all”, he said.

For the former Minister of Petroleum, Prof Tam David-West, it is obvious the disappearance of the DDC machines is a ploy to rig the coming election.

He regretted that anarchy looms ahead of the 2011 election describing the alleged stealing of the DDC machines from the Murtala Muhammed airport as a national shame.

The vocal professor of Virology predicted that that there would be anarchy if the forthcoming election is compromised, saying the nation will burn.

The former minister expressed regrets that majority of people in the country have continued to wallow in abject poverty despite the nation’s potentials.

He expressed shock at the outrageous salaries and allowances received by members of the National Assembly when many Nigerians live below poverty line.

For the former governor of Ogun State, Segun Osoba, the disappearance of the DDC machines shows that some Nigerians are already planning to manipulate the 2011 poll.

He described the incident as the beginning of rigging ahead of the coming election and called on the federal government to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to book.

“It is clear that those who stole the DDC machines are already planning to manipulate the voters’ register and subsequently the 2011 election.

“You recall that in previous elections, such names as Tyson, Michael Jackson, Fawehinmi surfaced in areas they were not resident. Such a problem is rearing its ugly head again but it would not be tolerated”, he said.

Another chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ebenezer Babatope, prayed that some people would not sabotage the forthcoming election.

He urged President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the relevant security agencies get to the roots of the matter and unearth the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the DDC machines.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Nicholas Ugbane, also voiced concern over the theft of the DDC machines.

Ugbane, who represents Kogi East at the upper legislative chamber, said the development calls for an overhaul of the nation’s security system.


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