From Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin
The Kwara State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to deploy more registration machines to polling units in the state.
The party in a statement issued in Ilorin by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sylyman Buhari, noted that one machine per polling unit could not meet up with registration of massive turn out of electorates across the 193 wards in the state.
The party said :”the preliminary report from 193 wards of Kwara State has shown that the registration process is unsatisfactorily slow. With the massive turnout of would-be voters, one (1) registration machine per polling booth is grossly inadequate.
“We urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to urgently find solution to the drawbacks,” he pleaded.
Reacting to the recent ban of political rallies by Kwara Police Command, the party stated that the Police, as an institution established by law, must allow itself to be guided by law and history rather than arbitrariness.
“The ban is not only illegal and unwarranted, it is also null and void in the face of Nigerian constitution. The Police Command lacks such powers to ban rallies, procession and political meetings in Kwara State. Only the governor of Kwara state, who doubles as the Chief Security Officer, has such constitutional powers.
“The fundamental rights to freedom of conscience, expression, assembly and association of the good people of Kwara State as guaranteed by sections 38, 39 and 40 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria can not be unilaterally violated by the NPF, an institution responsible for the enforcement of same fundamental human rights.”
On the directive that party agents should steer clear of polling units during the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, the APC said, “CVR exercises are conducted by INEC not the Police Command. It was INEC that requested the participation of political parties and deployment of party agents to polling booths. In any electoral process, the duty of the police is to ensure compliance with INEC laws and guidelines, not to give counter unlawful orders”.
But the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) berated the ruling APC in the state for rejecting the police ban on unauthorised public procession and protest.
The PDP in a statement by it Publicity secretary, Chief Rex Olawoye stated that by rejecting the order, the APC leadership has now concretely confirmed the fears of Kwarans that the APC is unruly and deviant.
“All the police command seeks to prevent is the continued degeneration of the security of the state and nothing more. It is not targeted at the APC alone but all groups and individuals irrespective of their political leaning. So, why is the APC crying more than other institutions that are affected by the order?
“Does the APC have other motives other than what it is making the public to believe? As far as we are concerned, we believe that the police would not have handed down the banning order but for the violent conduct of some members of the APC in Kwara State. And as an institution whose primary responsibility is to protect lives and property in the state, the police would not stand by while the APC turns the state into a theatre of war. “