15 February 2019

Nigeria: Discovery of 'Thumb-Printed Ballots' May Hamper Polls' Credibility - Obasanjo

A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday expressed apprehension over alleged discovery of thumb-printed ballots in some part of the country, saying the development may hamper credibility of the election.

He equally asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to respond to those discoveries and subsequently take precautions to curb electoral fraud.

Obasanjo spoke with newsmen on Friday in Abeokuta, Ogun state, while reacting to a report on social media that he had travelled out of the country, purportedly over the election.

The former president submitted that it's inconceivable to think he would jet out of Nigeria over the election, saying he has left "purveyors of the fake news to God."

Obasanjo expressed his readiness to perform his civic responsibility on Saturday and March 2 "according to the dictate of my heart."

He said "I believe that tomorrow (Saturday) should be a red letter day for Nigerians, a day when we should be able to say we have firmly stabilised our democracy. For me, I still have some apprehension.

"If the news of already thumb-printed ballot papers in Kano; I have also received news in Ondo today. I have received news from Ikorodu. If these are true, we have not heard anything like this before. I don't want to say "Oh, have I not told you?." But it is sad if they are true.

"Maybe INEC would have to tell us how did this happen? Maybe INEC will have answer and not only the answers, precaution against this tomorrow because if people are thumb-printing, obviously, they want to make sure that those already thumb-printed ballot papers are used. If that happens, it will make non-sense of all INEC has prepared for and all Nigerians are looking forward to."

On his reported travelling out of the country, he said "Those who are carrying such rumour or what they now called fake news, I think I leave them in the hands of God. I am used to that sort of things now. In Yorubaland, they say if your head is hard you don't have to worry yourself. Let anybody tell lies against you. Let anybody carry fake news against you. Let anybody abuse you, God will deal with them rightly and appropriately."

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