TOP flight security reports arising from arrests of northerners in the southern region have revealed a plot by one of the leading opposition parties to flood the South-South and South-East geopolitical zones with northern migrant voters ahead of the 2015 presidential polls.
The plot, already under implementation, has led to movement of thousands of northerners to all states of the South-South and South-East, as well as part of the South-West.
The movement reportedly started mid last year and had gone undetected until the Boko Haram insurgency necessitated closer security checks across the country.
Sunday Tribune exclusively gathered these details from closely-guarded security reports compiled by security officials who investigated the 486 northerners arrested while travelling in a convoy of 33 buses to Abia State last month.
It will be recalled that several hundreds of northerners were intercepted in Rivers and Bayelsa states early in the year but were released following outcry over alleged profiling of northerners in the South.
Previous arrests and investigation were focused on Boko Haram links until recently when some of the arrested northerners opened up on their mission to the region.
The opposition party’s alleged involvement exposedAccording to the security report, investigations have unearthed a plot by the political party to move thousands of eligible voters from the North-West and Northeastern part of the country to the South-East and South-South in the next few weeks, where they could register as eligible voters ahead of the presidential election in February next year.
Informed sources, who spoke to Sunday Tribune, further disclosed to our reporters that many of the 486 people who were arrested and detained had confessed to having been mobilised by political party chieftains to relocate to the South and integrate into the civil populace ahead of the 2015 polls.
The plan, according to a top security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, is to increase the voting strength of the opposition political party and secure the mandatory 25 per cent of votes cast in those states and thereby enhance its chances of winning the presidential election.
“When one considers the fact that the constitution requires that for a person to be declared winner in a presidential election, he must score, at least, one quarter of votes cast in 24 states in addition to scoring the highest number of votes cast nationwide, it becomes clear that a party which does not score this mandatory percentage in the 11 states of the South-East and South-South will be in a very precarious situation” the source said.
The investigation team was also said to have gathered that the arrested travellers were just one tranche of thousands of others who had moved earlier into different states and registered during the continuous voter registration exercise in six states.
Most of the arrested persons said they had never travelled out of the North and were told that arrangements had been made for their accommodation and feeding for the next six months.
A leader of the group, who is from one of the states in the North-West, was said to have confessed during interrogation that the logistics for the night journey was provided by a former member of the National Assembly, who is also a coordinator to a presidential aspirant from the zone.
According to the Sunday Tribune source, “several funds transfer by politicians into accounts of those arrested are currently being investigated while security agents have been put on alert to mount surveillance on those who had moved into the South much earlier. The nation’s law does not recognise migrant voters. Everyone is expected to vote in his or her normal place of residence. This development is worrisome as it portrays the desperation of our politicians”
The source explained that a similar scenario had played out in South-West state, leading to the redeployment of a Resident Electoral Commissioner, after being fingered in conducting clandestine voter registration for about 6,000 persons whose identity could not be ascertained by the local community.
The REC, it was gathered, was ordered to proceed on an annual leave after the top echelon of INEC was alerted by security agencies of his connivance with some politicians to conduct the surreptitious registration exercise where thousands of people of Northern origin were registered within a space of three weeks during the voter registration update in the state.
Security implication of voter migration under investigation Another angle being investigated by security agencies, according to the source, is the security implication of the act, in view of threats by some politicians to instigate violence in the event of losing the 14 February, 2015 election.
It is the fear of security men that most of these persons who are mostly between the ages of 17 and 24 could be used by politicians to cause havocs before, during and after the general elections.
The security chiefs confirmed that investigations are still on to unravel the extent to which this plan had been hatched by the politicians and to determine the culpability of some officials of the electoral body.