A former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has warned the owner of the online platform, alibaba.com, Jack Ma, not to allow his platform to be used to derail Nigeria’s democracy.
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Sunday in Abuja raised the alarm that permanent voter cards were being cloned and sold online.
The commission, in a statement by its Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, alerted Nigerians to the discovery.
Atiku, who is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, in an open letter signed by the Director General of his campaign organisation, Chief Gbenga Daniel, described the cloning as “an egregious breach of Nigeria’s electoral integrity and our national security.”
He said, “We are very concerned about this security breach because it threatens Nigeria’s desire to build strong institutions, like the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“A situation like this could lead to massive vote-buying and thus thwart our efforts.”
Atiku reminded Jack Ma that PVCs were used in the 2015 general elections and there was no breach even though the alibaba.com platform was in existence then.
He said, “That precedence leads me to believe that if alibaba.com refuses to lend its platform to those unscrupulous elements who want to thwart Nigeria’s democracy, we would greatly increase the chances of a free and fair Nigerian election in 2019.
“Therefore, I appeal to you to use your good offices to permanently remove these items from alibaba.com.”
The former vice-president further advised the platform to consider sharing its information with Nigeria’s security apparatus that might help to expose any impropriety.
He referred to the allegations, counter-allegations and investigations into election-meddling in the 2016 American presidential elections, saying, “These occurrences have ensnared several technology, IT and social media platforms, including Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Twitter, just to mention a few.
“Their involvement has had far-reaching political and economic impact which has affected their market capitalisation and consumer confidence.
“It is also in the light of preventing such a scenario involving Nigeria and alibaba.com that I make these appeals. I trust that I can count on your cooperation.”
Meanwhile, the PDP has said nobody can rig the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State despite the alleged plans by the All Progressives Congress, INEC officials and security agencies to do so.
A statement by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Monday warned that the party would not condone election rigging.
The statement quoted him as saying, “The people of Ekiti State are already aware of the clandestine meetings between known INEC officials and APC agents, including those held at the Ondo State Government House, Akure, where plots were hatched to use INEC’s ICT Department to preload card readers and input false results, as well as cloning unclaimed Permanent Voter Cards to superimpose pictures of their members from other states.
“What the APC and their cohorts in INEC fail to note is that Ekiti is a contiguous state where every indigene and residents know and can identify one another as individuals and families and that as such there is no way in which strangers imported from other states can be allowed to sneak in and participate in their election.”.