Ahead of the 2023 general election, the ruling All Progressives Congress and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party are at daggers drawn in Delta State over an alleged collection of Permanent Voters Cards from empowerment seeking youths.
The Delta State APC Gubernatorial Campaign Organisation had raised the alarm alleging plans by officials of the state government to compromise the 2023 general elections by illegally collecting PVCs from unsuspecting voters.
The party alleged that the Delta State Ministry of Youth Development was planning to obtain PVCs from applicants for its skill acquisition programme, describing it as fraudulent and preparing the grounds to rig the forthcoming poll.
The Director, Communications and Media Strategy of the campaign organisation, Ima Niboro, had called on the police and other relevant agencies to arrest the situation as a means of forestalling a breakdown of law and order.
Niboro said the aim of collecting PVCs from applicants was to disenfranchise them and use such details to manipulate the outcome of the 2023 general election in the state.
“Our attention has been drawn to a fraudulent move by the Delta State Ministry of Youth Development through its Rural Youth Skill Acquisition Programme to obtain Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) from applicants.
“There is no correlation between an applicant seeking skill acquisition and his PVC, as this only suggests that the PDP government is hell-bent on rigging the forthcoming elections in the state.”
But the PDP in a quick response came down hard on Niboro and the APC, saying “in this day and age when technology has become the mainstay of our election, gothic and primordial creatures like Ima Niboro, who have completely lost touch with modern realities, will still display the idiocy and ignorance of raking up old fashioned excuses to justify the pecuniary subsidy of his verbose office.”
The party in a statement signed by the state’s chapter publicity secretary, Ifeanyi Osuoza, and titled “Ima Niboro’s alarming ignorance of PVC and BVAS,” stated that “for the benefit of educating and informing him and his hapless co-travelers in the APC, that since the last time they interacted with the civilized community, the Independent National Electoral Commission, in the quest to improve the integrity of elections in Nigeria, has introduced what it called the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System.
“Ima Niboro says in his childish write-up that: “There is no correlation between an applicant seeking skill acquisition and his PVC, as this only suggests that the PDP government is hell-bent on rigging the forthcoming elections in the State”, and though he fails typically to explain how this will eventually translate into rigging the 2023 election, it is important, however, to school him properly on the new technology for the conduct of elections, which even his boss, the Deputy Senate President, was at the forefront of its adoption.”
The Delta PDP declared that, “We have gone to great lengths to break down the way and manner the new technology that will be deployed for the 2023 election will operate. Against this backdrop therefore, how possible will it be for anybody including the APC, to even contemplate, not to talk of rigging the election, as Ima Niboro has wildly alleged?
In fact, it rankles the sensibilities of intelligent, logical Deltans that Ima Niboro, with all his exposure and experience, as a former Presidential spokesperson and dismissed Director General of the News Agency of Nigeria, will descend so low as to allege such a crude, illiterate and loquacious accusation and we challenge him to please do us Deltans and Nigerians alike, a big favour, by educating us on exactly how the collection of PVC will aid and facilitate the rigging of the 2023 election. We wait to hear and we are quite sure that even he will be ashamed of his foolish explanations, if he attempts it.”
The APC 2023 Delta State guber candidate and the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, however, revisited the issue on Sunday in Effurun.
Omo-Agege, while speaking with journalists at the meeting of chieftains of the party, faulted moves by the government to obtain records of PVCs from citizens in the name of skills acquisition programmes.
He said there was no nexus between skills acquisition and PVCs. Omo-Agege asked the PDP led administration to smell the coffee, as the New Electoral Act has emplaced a new order that makes election rigging impossible.
“Of course we are concerned. You know PDP as a party in Delta State is synonymous with rigging. They are scared of anything that speaks of free and fair voting. But they fail to understand that there is a new electoral regime in place; and that it is going to be almost impossible to rig the coming elections.
Notwithstanding they are still giving it their best shot by asking for PVCs from applicants.
“We don’t know for what purpose. If you want to do empowerment or training, there is no reason why you should be asking for a copy of people’s PVC.
“But be that as it may, we are watching.
And we are determined to ensure that whatever gets in their hands will be rendered useless on election day,” he said.