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Southern, Middle Belt leaders ask INEC to resist rigging plans


 The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to resist pressure from those plotting to sabotage the 2019 elections.



The group expressed worries over reports that the commission was under pressure to delete the electronic transmission of results from polling units to a central server and the pasting of results at the polling units in the proposed guidelines for the 2019 elections.



“If these reports are true, it may just confirm the fears that the perpetual boast by the ruling party and its allies of assurance of victory in the 2019 presidential polls  even before it holds is not based on winning the hearts of the people but through underhand means,” the forum said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.



The statement was signed by Yinka Odumakin (South West); Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South East); Senator Bassey Henshaw ( South South ) and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).



It argued that election rigging usually starts with changing of results announced by polling officers, noting that the credibility of the 2019 elections had a lot to do with the continued existence of Nigeria as a country.



“INEC must use Form EC 60E which will contain the scores of every candidate at every polling unit which must be pasted at every polling unit and transmitted to a central server by the presiding officer in the presence of agents,” the forum insisted.



The group also alerted Nigerians to alleged foreign interference in the nation’s electoral process, adding that a Russian businessman identified as Mr Prigozhin, had been fingered as President Vladmir Putin’s point man in efforts to meddle with elections across Africa.



“He is already active in or moving into 10 countries that Russia’s military already has relationships with: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Libya, Madagascar, Angola, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic.



“SMBLF’s fear is that Mr Prigozhin is being whispered to have come into Nigeria through the Chadian President in the course of these moves in relation to the 2019 elections,” the forum alleged.
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