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Nigeria’s electoral commission says claim of ‘50 million ballot papers already thumb-printed for PDP’ is fake

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed Nigeria’s presidential election about six hours before voting was due to start on 16 February 2019.

The last-minute delay until 23 February didn’t stop supporters of the largest political parties – the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party – from throwing accusations of electoral fraud at each other.

One such is a Facebook post claiming an “INEC spokesman” had said there were “50 million ballot papers already thumb-printed under PDP box in some states”.

The post by Mc Paul, a supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, ended with “Thieves will always be thieves!!!”. By 20 February it had been shared over 2,400 times.

But no report of 50 million ballots for the PDP has appeared in any national newspaper or come through INEC’s official communication channels, such as its active Twitter account.  

Report of ballots marked for APC

Another claim is that 17 sacks filled with ballot papers thumb-printed for APC were intercepted by police in Kano State.

The police dismissed the claim, saying the ballots were just specimens used to educate voters in Jigawa State, and were not thumb-printed.  

‘It’s fake news’

INEC’s national commissioner in charge of publicity and voter education, Festus Okoye, told Africa Check the claim of 50 million ballots already thumb-printed for PDP was false.

“There is no such thing,” Okoye said. “All sensitive materials, including ballot papers, that were distributed to local government areas have been returned to the Central Bank [for safekeeping]. So it’s fake news. It has nothing to do with us.” – Africa Check (20/02/19)


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