By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
AS facts on the alleged electoral malpractices that characterised the just concluded gubernatorial elections in Sokoto state keep unfolding, fresh revelations confirmed yesterday that no fewer than 230 thumb printed ballot papers were intercepted following the arrest of a PDP staunch member at Darna Tsalawo ward in Illela local government.
The PDP member (name withheld) in connivance with INEC Supervisory Polling Officer, one Abdulmalik at polling unit 001 during the March 9 gubernatorial polls, attempted to stuff a ballot box with the thumb printed ballot papers when he was arrested by a team of SIB men on elections duty.
A source who was on the police patrol team told The Nation that” the arrested PDP member carrying the ballot papers approached us to assist to ensure that we chase agents of the opposition APC and electorates to create chance for him to stuff the ballot box with he already thumb printed ballots after which he will give us N50, 000.
” We pretended to be with him. When we discovered he had negotiated with the SPO and gave him some money, we swiftly arrested him with the SPO whom we found with over N173,000 on him and took him to the Illela Divisional Police Office.
” We raised a report with the DPO who forwarded the case to the Area Command headquarters in Gwadabawa for appropriate action and despatch to the Sokoto Command units of the CID”, the source explained.
However, at the Area Command headquarters, Gwadabawa, no record on such case was found, as the DPO said he was not aware nor his second in command.
” During the March 9 gubernatorial and state assembly elections, I was not in charge, as I was deployed to Tambuwal. It was ACP Sheikh Danko that was in charge and we have no such record.”
According to another source” the move by the PDP suspected member was a grand plan targeted at the 12 polling units that comprises the ward. The thumb printed ballot papers were billed to be smuggled into ballot boxes across the 12 PUs with monies allocated to each of the INEC officials overseeing the PUs.”
However, speaking to The Nation, Alhaji Muhammadu Sarkin Allaro Illela, Chairman of APC Illela local government confirmed that the electoral malpractice was ochestrated and designed to affect many polling units and voting points across the local government.
” We are amazed that things like these are happening even with the electoral awareness. Our party has the overwhelming majority and support of electorates but the opposition are taking it too far for power at all cost. They are robbing democracy and wishes of the masses”, he said.