Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Edo State Governorship Election: Swiped! Accreditation Cards For Journalists 'Delayed' As Election Nears
Gen. Godwin Abbe, Other PDP Chieftains Take Over INEC Office.
Over 250 local and foreign journalists assigned to cover Saturday's governorship election in Edo State found their short-term accreditation cards 'unavailable', from the Public Affairs union of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Sahara Reporters has exclusively learned.
Sources told SaharaReporters they believed that the election body secretly dished out the cards meant for journalists to chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who turned them over to their agents, raising suspicions that the agents might masquerade as journalists and rig the elections.
Apart from a few local journalists from government-owned media who received provisional accreditation tags, the majority of reporters seeking the official Press ID were told by Public Affair head, Mrs. Patience Sule, they were unavailable and to come back the following day.
Sahara’s sources said the exchange with Madam Sule was heated and insulting. The missing cards were said to have been reported to Kassim Giadam, the Resident Election Commissioner (REC). Giadam is said to favor the PDP and allegedly helped them win the Adamawa State governorship in February this year.
Coincidentally, PDP chieftains Gen. Godwin Abbe, ex-defence minister; Mr. Imasue Lucky, ex-Edo State deputy governor, and others were seen in the area just as a long blue van with registration number, CW727-LDS appeared from the INEC headquarters to deliver ballot papers and other materials for the Saturday poll.
As frustration grew over the missing IDs, the new Edo State commissioner of police, Mr. Olufemi Adenaike addressed journalists and assured them of free and fair election come Saturday.