Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State on Monday accused the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party of importing mercenaries into the state for the ongoing continuous voters registration ahead of next year’s elections.
Oshiomhole, who made the allegation shortly after he monitored the exercise at Ward 10, Iyamho, in Etsako Central Local Government Area of the state, claimed that “bus-loads of mercenaries” were imported into the state and were offered protection by men suspected to be soldiers.
The governor said that such illegal actions were capable of undermining the entire exercise, which was introduced to create opportunities to those who had not registered before.
Oshiomhole said, “I have heard that some politicians are bringing in people from neighbouring states and I find that very strange.
“I was told that somewhere in Uromi, a PDP Leader brought in soldiers to provide escort while they brought in people with buses from neighbouring states to register in one of the Wards in Uromi and I find that very worrisome because the whole idea is not to import mercenary voters.”
“I can understand if someone who is resident outside his village wants to go back to the village for the purpose of election but the villagers know everybody.
“So, when you now import people who are not from the village and register them, that distorts the numbers and creates problems. It creates problem for the electoral system.
“I want to appeal strongly to INEC to have a way of monitoring the exercise to ensure that there are no mercenary voters. In Uromi, the leaders protested when the politician brought the mercenaries to register, but because of the soldiers that were escorting them, they had to leave.
“And these people were brought in with several buses, they were brought in buses owned by a popular transport company. This is very disturbing and I hope that INEC will check these kind of malpractices”, he stressed.
Mr. Oshiomhole also decried the inadequacies that characterized the exercise, which he said were marred by limited time, limited and less efficient data-capturing machines and inadequate personnel to cater for the huge number of intending voters in the state.
He, however, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to live up to the expectations of Nigerians who want to exercise their constitutional rights in 2015 and beyond.