Polls: Obasanjo expresses worry over discovery of thumb-printed ballot papers


Less than 24 hours to the conduct of presidential and National Assembly elections, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has once again expressed his doubt over the capacity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free, fair and credible polls.

Obasanjo who stated this in a chat with newsmen in Abeokuta, said the report of the discovery of already thumb-printed ballot papers in Kano, Ondo and Ikorodu in Lagos states, has cast great doubt on the ability of INEC to conduct elections Nigerians will be proud of.

He noted that the February 16 polls should be a red letter day in the history of the country as well as a day to firmly stabilise Nigeria’s democracy, calling on the INEC to put precaution measures in place to foil any manipulative plans.

“I believe that Saturday should be a red letter day for Nigerians, a day when we should be able to say we have again firmly stabilised our democracy.

“Although for me, I still have some apprehension. If the news of already thumb-printed ballot papers in Kano yesterday – I’ve received news in Ondo today; I’ve received news from Ikorodu – if these are true, we haven’t had anything like this before. I don’t want to say, ‘oh, have I not told you?’

“But it is sad if they are true. And maybe, INEC, would then have to tell us how did this happen. Maybe INEC would have answers and not only answers, precaution against this on election day. Because if people are thumb-printing, obviously they want to make sure that those already thumb-printed ballot papers are used and if that happens, then it will make nonsense of all that INEC has prepared for and all that Nigerians are looking forward to.” Chief Obasanjo stated.

Obasanjo, however, said he had no plan to flee the country, but stay and vote for the candidates of his choice.

“Those who are saying that I am running away from Nigeria, I don’t know what they want to achieve by peddling that. Why should I run out of the country? I should be here for the elections because if anybody has laid the foundation of democracy in this country, I have. Then why should I be the one to run away for democracy? I should be here to encourage everybody to participate,” he submitted.

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