The Conference of United Political Parties of Nigeria (CUPP) says it has uncovered plans by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) to indulge in digital vote-buying, tagged ‘Operation Wire-Wire’ in its desperation to win the 2023 general election.
Ikenga Ugochinyere, the spokesperson of CUPP, who made the allegation during a press conference in Abuja Monday, said the APC designed the scheme immediately after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced planned naira redesign.
According to Ugochinyere, bank details of over 10 million voters have been harvested by APC’s agents nationwide, using different platforms. The CUPP spokesperson said this was a huge threat to the credibility and outcome of the 2023 general election, and also against the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“This plot which has now received the approval at the highest level of the APC and its Presidential Campaign Council was also designed in Imo State and exported to 21 other states of the federation requires the party’s agents harvesting names, account numbers and Voters Identification Numbers, Bank Verification Numbers of citizens and arranged in tables for each polling unit on the understanding that money will be sent to each person by electronic means to purchase their votes.”
He said in Imo and Ebonyi States, this plot was being executed under the platform Support Group Coordination, South-East, while in other parts of the region like Abia, Enugu and Anambra, it was being executed as All Progressives Congress Empowerment Form.
“In Katsina State and other parts of the North- West, the plot is being executed under the Citizens Grassroots Farmers Association, while in Ekiti State; they are operating under the Ekiti Development Front (EDF). In the North-Central, Operation Wire-Wire is being executed under the North-Central Women for Tinubu.
“In Cross River State, the details are harvested under the Forum of Tinubu Support Groups. In the rest of the country, the APC is harvesting details using the vote canvassing form”, Ugochinyere alleged.
He called on banks and the security agencies to work together by identifying the illegal transactions in the banks and reporting the same to the security agencies for immediate prosecution, saying there are leaked documents regarding that in the possession of the opposition.
“Again we call on the Police, the DSS, and the EFCC to swing into action and arrest the harvesters of these bank details. If security agencies claim they do not know who harvested them, we now tell them to apprehend the persons whose identities are contained in these documents and, from there, get the identities of those they surrendered their personal details to,” he said.
Ugochinyere also alleged that there was yet more troubling intelligence of threats to free and fair elections come 2023, test run in Imo State immediately after the signing into law of the 2022 Electoral, code-named ‘Operation Afternoon Raid.’
He alleged that in this plot, the ruling party thugs will storm various polling centres and cart away the materials and officers from about 2pm on election day.
“With this, they can allocate all the votes in line with the number of accredited voters already in the BVAS machine to their candidates and upload the same, thereby scoring unmerited votes.
“Security agencies are yet to question any person for the massive rigging of elections in the Ngor-Okpala constituency election in Imo State, where this was test run. This is part of the consideration the ruling party has resolved to deploy in the South-West region, where they intend to use this method and score at least 95 percent of the votes cast in the South-West.”
Ugochinyere also condemned the use of Magistrate Courts by security agents working in collaboration with state governors to detain opposition leaders on trumped-up charges and sometimes granting impossible bail conditions.
He said: “In Kaduna, Ebonyi, Kogi, and Imo States, these provocative actions are rampant. Opposition candidates in these states are not allowed to campaign. Our Labour Party senatorial candidate and PDP governorship candidate, Odili AnyiChuks and their supporters are being hunted on a daily basis. The same with most opposition leaders, including myself, Ojinika and Ameh; they have planned to abduct and use trumped-up charges to silence us.”
The opposition leader alleged that the APC taking advantage of its control of the House of Representatives, has drafted an amendment for reintroduction on Tuesday November 22, seeking the urgent amendment of two laws, the Central Bank Act and the Decimal Currency Act, in a Currency Change (Procedure) Bill, 2022.
“These two laws provide, in Section 4(3) of the Decimal Currency Act and Section 20(3) of the Central Bank Act, for a notice of three months by the CBN for the redesigning of the naira or withdrawing any coins or notes from circulation. This informs why by that calculation, the current notes in circulation will cease to be legal tender on January 31, 2023.
“But to aid the APC rigging machinery, we have been informed of the draft bill by seven APC members of the House who want to quickly pass the law to allow for this notice for the exchange of old naira to be extended to six months after the 2023 general election. This means that those with huge sums in their warehouses can easily use those cash to buy votes.”
“The opposition fully supports the naira redesign policy of the CBN to the extent that the January 31, 2023 deadline date is not shifted and that the apex bank does not find the need to print the kind of cash that was in circulation before that aided currency storage. The naira should be made to be scarce so that its value can improve while improvement on online banking and payments should be encouraged to help keep track of money movements and reduce illicit cash transactions,” he noted.
Ugochinyere said the opposition parties passed a vote of confidence on Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the national commissioners for removing the over 2.7 million unqualified registrants after they raised the alarm.
“He (Yakubu) has so far shown courage, wisdom, commitment, faith, and capacity to ensure that the 2023 general election is transparent, credible, free, fair, and acceptable,” he added.