Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Kaduna state chapter of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), has described the recent fire outbreak at the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM) Headquarters as a sabotage to the electoral process of the Local Government Council elections.
This is contained in a statement signed by its state publicity secretary, Abraham Alberah Catoh, in reaction to Saturday fire incident, which gutted the KAD-SIECOM office few days to LG elections.
“We call on the KAD-SIECOM chairman and the Commissioners to resign. We believe that they are no longer trustworthy to conduct free, fair and credible elections that would usher in new leadership into the Local Government Councils in Kaduna State,” PDP said.
The party called on the State House of Assembly and the Nigeria Police to immediately set up an Investigative Panel to look into the remote causes of the fire incidence at the KAD-SIECOM Headquarters so as to unravel the obvious coincidence.
“The PDP has always had its suspicion about the sincerity of the SIECOM’S readiness to conduct a credible election. Since they were sworn-in, they have been dilly-dallying about when and the conduct of elections in Kaduna State that would usher in the elected Councillors and Council Chairmen across the State. No wonder, they have decided to set the Commission Headquarters ablaze.
“How can a commission that prides itself as ‘Independent’ submit to this kind of cheap cowardice?” it queried.
The party said that the APC is staring at a colossal defeat in the forthcoming Local Government elections; so, they are using every obsolete means to disenfranchise the electorates and deny Kaduna State citizens leadership at the Ward and Local Government levels.
“We also wonder why the Commission Headquarters will be gutted by fire barely three (3) weeks to the Local Government elections. This is sabotage, and it is unacceptable!” PDP stressed.
KAD-SIECOM had on Saturday issued a statement that its office, located at Sokoto Road, went aflame at about 10:30am on the 2nd floor.
Signed by the Commission’s chairman, Dr (Mrs) Saratu Binta Dikko-Audu, the release stressed that the cause of the fire incident was yet to be identified.
It however stated that the fire affected all the offices on the 2nd floor of the building, including the offices of the Chairman, Legal and Finance Department, and the Conference room, adding that no life was lost, and no injuries recorded.
It added that members of the Commission were in an emergency meeting in the chairman’s office when the incident occurred.
“The ground floor, 1st floor and stores were not affected by the fire. Details of losses incurred will take a few days to determine. The Fire Service and Police are investigating the immediate and remote cause(s) of the fire,” it stated.
However, when our correspondent visited the office in company of his colleagues recently, the over 6,000 electronic voting machines bought for the LG Election were stored in most of the rooms outside of the store.