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Syndicate doctors INEC candidatesí list - 17 names removed, 4 arrested; PDP drops Ahmadu Aliís wife

Posted by Jacob Segun Olatunji, Abuja on 2007/02/23 | Views: 1307 |

Syndicate doctors INEC candidatesí list - 17 names removed, 4 arrested; PDP drops Ahmadu Aliís wife

THE police have smashed a syndicate which has been substituting names of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in the forthcoming elections at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and state offices of the commission with fake names.

THE police have smashed a syndicate which has been substituting names of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in the forthcoming elections at the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and state offices of the commission with fake names.

Sources at INEC headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday told the Nigerian Tribune exclusively that such illegal substitution attracted between N30,000 and N500,000 depending on the complexity of the cases of those they were trying to dupe. It was gathered that four members of the syndicate, including the ring leader, had been arrested following a tip-off.

The suspects were reportedly picked up at their operational centre, a guest house at the Utako District Area, Abuja, on Tuesday by detectives. According to investigations, the syndicate had already effected substitution of the names of 17 candidates contesting for state and National Assembly elections in Cross River, Imo, Delta, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom and Abia states with the names originally submitted by the party and was at the point of perfecting it at the INEC headquarters, Abuja, when the bubble burst.

It was gathered that the syndicate, said to be working hand-in-hand with some insiders at the National Secretariat of the PDP, capitalised on some petitions written to the leadership of the party during the last primaries by aspirants alleging that they were rigged out and that their cases be reviewed. According to investigation, the syndicate hired rooms in a guest house in Utako and wrote to their victims telling them that they had been declared winners after going through their petitions.

They also urged them to come up with certain documents and undisclosed amount to meet with a purported aide to the national chairman of the party, Senator Ahamadu Ali, to complete necessary INEC forms for their substitution. The aspirants fell for the trick and headed for the guest house with their credentials and the amount of money and completed the necessary INEC form.

Upon the completion of the necessary INEC forms, the leader of the syndicate, who hails from Arochukwu, in Abia State, reportedly prepared covering letters state by state on the letterhead papers of the PDP and appended the signature of both the national chairman and the national secretary of the party. According to findings, the necessary INEC substitution forms and the covering letter purportedly from the national secretariat of the party were then addressed to the Director of Legal Services of INEC and dispatched as required by law.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that an INEC official discovered some irregularities in the signatures of Senator Ali and Chief Maduekwe and became suspicious. It was gathered that it was at this point that the police at the INEC headquarters were alerted. Already, one of the people who had dealings with the syndicate has been nabbed by the police while efforts were in progress to track down others.

A police officer at the INEC headquarters told the Nigerian Tribune that a thorough investigation was being carried out to unmask those behind the syndicate and their collaborators at both the PDP and the INEC. When contacted, the chief press secretary to the chairman of INEC,. Professor Maurice Iwu, Mr. Andy Ezeani, said he was not aware of the incident yet but promised to find out the true situation of things while efforts to get the commissionís Director of Public Affairs, Pastor Segun Adeogun, on the phone, proved abortive.

Meanwhile, the PDP has reportedly dropped the wife of the national chairman of the party, Dr. (Mrs) Mariam Ali, as the partyís senatorial candidate for Delta North of Delta State. Sources at both the National Secretariat of the party and INEC headquarters in Abuja revealed that the name of Honourable Ned Nwoko was on Tuesday forwarded to INEC to replace Mrs. Aliís name.

Though Senator Ali denied knowledge of the development, Hon Nwoko, however, confirmed that his name was on the partyís candidate list at the INEC headquarters by Wednesday morning when he got to the place for verification. Nwoko commended the prompt intervention of the leader of the party, President Olusegun Obasanjo, over the authentic list of candidates of the party in the zone.

It was learnt that after a review of the entire list, President Obasanjo reportedly ordered immediate changes in the list of some states, including that of Delta. This is coming just as Senator Ahmadu Ali presented the new governorship candidates of the party in Kebbi and Sokoto States, the partyís flag and lauded the Kebbi State governor, Alhaji Adamu Ailero, for the prominent role the played in seeing that the two states joined the PDP.

While Alhaji Aliyu Wammako and Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari became governorship candidate mate in Sokoto, Alhaji Seidu Saidu Usman Dakingari became the Governorship Candidate and running mate in Kebbi State. Senator Ali made it clear that the party was sure of capturing the two states in the April polls with the entrance of powerful politicians in the states into PDP.

Responding both the gubernatorial candidates and Governor Ailero promised to go to all the nooks and crannies of the two states to campaign for the PDP in the Aprils and ensure that PDP eventually captured the States. Also, members of the National Assembly seeking re-election, as well as other candidates today stormed INEC to ensure that their names are on the final list.

Midnight of Tuesday was the deadline for the substitution of candidatesí names for the National Assembly and the presidential elections. Among those sighted at INEC headquarters were Honourables Osita Izunaso (PDP-Imo), Ehiogie West-Idahosa (PDP-Edo) and Alex Nwofe (PDP-Ebonyi).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that most of the candidates were either for House of Representatives or the Senate. Some of the candidates, who had gone through INEC verification exercise, had alleged that their state governors had petitioned against their candidature.

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