Prof. Shuaibu AbdulRaheem, the Kwara governorship candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), has alleged that majority of the party supporters were disenfranchised in Saturday’s press and parliamentary elections.
The gubernatorial candidate made the allegation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin on Sunday.
AbdulRaheem, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, said that the issue of the logo of NNPP on ballot papers was a very controversial one and should be resolved very soon.
“INEC printed the logo of the party, with fruit basket, but the colour separation and NNPP acronym were absent, so if you look at the ballot paper, the logo appears in a dark-brown colour.
“It takes a lot of effort for the eye to identify which is the basket and which is the fruit.
“If this appears to ordinary Nigerians, who are of average or little education, it will pose a challenge,” he said.
AbdulRaheem cited an instance where an electoral officer denied some NNPP voters the opportunity to vote, because NNPP was not written on the ballot paper, even with the presence of the party symbol.
He said that the act completely disenfranchised a lot of people, due to irresponsible conduct of electoral officers in polling units.
“Simply because the NNPP is not written against the logo, people were denied the opportunity to vote.
“There is no basis stopping people, if the voters identify the logo of their party, whether there is a name or not, both name and logo are means of identity,” he said.
The Kwara NNPP gubernatorial candidate noted that the 2023 presidential and parliamentary poll was generally peaceful, but not flawless.
AbdulRaheem said that there was a need for more synergy between the political parties and the electoral body.
“It appears that either artificial or man-made distance had been created among parties, to the extent that such parties like mine, NNPP, stood disadvantaged.
“This is as a result of poor or insincere communication between the party and INEC,” he said.
The gubernatorial candidate hoped that the next election would not follow the same method, saying that INEC and the party need to agree to correct the mistake.
“They can really disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, if not corrected before the gubernatorial election,” he noted.