By VICTOR OKOYE
CROSS RIVER- The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) faithful in Cross River have raised concerns over the distortion of the party’s logo on the ballot paper.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Presidential and National Assembly elections was largely peaceful in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River on Saturday.
However, a cross section of NNPP party faithful who spoke with NAN after the elections, noted that there were some discrepancies in the party logo on the ballot paper which made it difficult for to cast their vote rightly.
Wilfred Bonse, the NNPP Gubernatorial candidate for Cross River noted that the logo was completely defaced, adding that the experience was quite horrendous
“Very unfortunately, the NNPP was not represented on the ballot papers as should have been.
“I struggled very hard to even recognise as a candidate of the party at the level of the gubernatorial position to recognise the logo of the NNPP.
“The NNPP logo is a basket of fruits, but I unfortunately found a mixed coloured basket not of fruits but probably something that looked like one or two yams without even NNPP written under.
“That’s a fiasco, total fiasco. Even when some of our candidates and agents were trying to capture it on picture and videos as evidence, they were attacked.
“So, this is a very big gang up and conspiracy if you like against the NNPP. The other parties have their logos clearly stated.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for instance had the umbrella well captured, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and even the Labour Party (LP).
“I struggled very hard to find ours and bearing in mind that one is not supposed to start teaching people on the election ground how to locate your logo.
“So, the experience we had today was quite horrendous,” he said.
Bonse urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come clean, adding that the situation was not acceptable by NNPP.
He stressed that the issue would be addressed at the highest level.
“Every party has a logo wherewith it has educated its followers and those logos must be spelt and clearly stated as it is in every representation.
“We will take this up at the highest level for sure.
“This is not acceptable and some of the videos which have gone viral were being attacked, particularly our senetorial candidate, Carolyn Williams for attempting to take photos of the ballot papers.
“Her phone was being confiscated when she also tried to do a video of what the NNPP logo on the ballot paper looked like.
“So, this anomaly has to be corrected as soon as possible because the elections must be seen to be free and fair,” he said.
Carolyn Williams, Cross River North Senatorial Candidate of the NNPP said there was an intentional attempt to sabotage the effort of the party by INEC and some unscrupulous agents.
“I think we were sabotaged because firstly, my party logo didn’t even look like my party logo.
“Then when you go to the House of Representatives and Presidential elections, the party logo was totally different.
“It had stars on it, a complete contrast to our party’s authentic logo which has a fruit basket.
“So, alot of our supporters and voters were confused because they couldn’t recognise the party logo and it brought alot of chaos and instability in the voting process,” she said.
Williams also revealed that were pockets of violence in some wards and some irregularities recorded.
“We had some issues in West ward I and West ward II where our party agents took off due to fear of the All Progressives Congress (APC) boys.
“So, there were no other agents but only the APC boys there and even when I got there I was attacked and had to quickly leave.
“Even the INEC officials and presiding officers wouldn’t let me take evidences of the ballot papers.
“In West ward I, we had issues where the voters couldn’t recognise the party logo and some of them got confused and started voting for the likes of PDP when they couldn’t find the NNPP logo.
“So, I don’t think this election was free and fair. I feel NNPP was sabotaged and therefore this election should have a re-run as far as I am concerned,” she said.
Simon Akpa, INEC, Assistant Electoral Officer for Ogoja told NAN that he was not aware of the issue as it had not been formally reported to INEC as of today (Monday).
Akpa, however, said that if the report was true and what was obtainable not just in Ogoja but also in other parts of the country, then the party had the constitutional right to file an official complain to INEC for further investigation.
“The complain has to be officially transmitted from the national level of NNPP to INEC, at that level the commission will give prompt attention to the issue.
“However, if the issue was a peculiar one to a particular constituency and not a general concern, the complain might not really hold water.
“But if the same concerns were raised and observed all over the country, then it will definitely be looked into by the electoral commission,” he said. (NAN)