A young man named Terver Ankyembe has been caught with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) booklets in Konshisha Local Government area of Benue State, allegedly with the intention to buy the votes of unsuspecting members of the public.
Addressing newsmen in Makurdi on Monday, Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Iwayam Council Ward, Awaji Annex, Konshisha LGA, Mr Alaaga Akav, said he uncovered the plot when Terver, who is a member of the APC in the ward, was seen registering unsuspecting voters and asking for their permanent voter cards (PVCs).
According to Akav, the suspect was caught with the INEC booklets with which he was registering gullible voters and retrieving their PVCs for as low as N200.
“I was about going to market in Oju when I saw a large number of persons gathered in my council ward. I left for the market but after a while, someone alerted me of what was happening and I hurriedly went back home.
“When I got to the scene, I saw Terver, who is a member of APC in my ward, buying off PVCs from our people, and when I asked what he was doing with INEC booklets, he said it was an assignment given to him from Makurdi to register voters.
“I forcefully collected the forms from him and he ran away. I heard that he is hiding in Aliade at the moment. But I know him, he is from our area and he is from my ward.”
On his part, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Col. Paul Hemba, who spoke through the Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, Mr. Don Korihom, disclosed that the matter had been reported to the Divisional Police Officer in Konshisha who had dispatched his men to apprehend the suspect.
But when contacted, state APC Publicity Secretary James Ornguga debunked claims that the suspect is a member of the APC saying, “our party is not aware of that issue and we cannot say the person involved is a card carrying member.
“As far as I am concerned, the state secretariat has not authorized anybody to carry out such assignment. If such a directive is coming it will emanate from the state working committee where I am also a member. So we are not aware of the action.”
Reacting to the development, Public Relations Officer of INEC Mr Andyer Terkaa said he was not aware of the matter and wondered how anybody would be able to get INEC forms to prosecute such illegal project.
I am yet to receive any official report to that effect and nobody in Konshisha has reported that some INEC forms in the area had gone missing.
“I don’t know how anybody can get INEC forms, so it is possible that people can use fake forms to cheat unsuspecting but gullible members of the public. Moreover, we have not gotten any information from the Electoral Officer in Konshisha that anything was missing from what she has in her store or what has been given to her.”
Contacted to confirm the report, the Benue State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Moses Yamu, promised to find out about the matter.