Presidential aspirant and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has written a letter to the Chinese online shopping platform, alibaba.com, about the sale of Nigeria’s Permanent Voters Card on its website.
DAILY POST recalls that Nigerians on social media had over the weekend raised alarm after Permanent voters’ cards, PVCs, branded with the Nigerian colour and logo, was listed for sale on Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba.
Reacting, Atiku in an open letter titled “A Matter of National Security and Electoral Integrity Involving alibaba.com,” signed by Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Director General Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, called on the organisation to take down the electoral material from its platform.
He said the action was a breach of Nigeria’s electoral and national integrity.
The letter reads, “Greetings and many congratulations for your entrepreneurial successes. I have great admiration for what you have achieved, especially coming from a humble background.
“I write this open letter because my attention has been drawn to an egregious breach of Nigeria’s electoral integrity and thus our national security, by the sale of Nigerian Permanent Voter Cards, on alibaba.com
“We are very concerned about this security breach because it threatens Nigeria’s desire to build strong institutions, like the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“A situation like this could lead to massive vote buying and thus thwart our efforts and instead create strong men where we want to enable strength in institutions.
“Permanent Voter Cards were used in the 2015 Nigerian elections and the alibaba platform was also in existence then, yet we did not have this breach.
“That precedence leads me to believe that if alibaba.com refuses to lend its platform to those unscrupulous elements who want to thwart Nigeria’s democracy, we would greatly increase the chances of a free and fair Nigerian election in 2019.
“Therefore, I appeal to you to use your good offices to permanently remove these items from alibaba.com.
“Furthermore, I do kindly ask you to consider sharing information with Nigeria’s security apparatus that may help expose any impropriety.
“The world is currently witnessing the unfolding of allegations, counter allegations and investigations into election meddling in the 2016 American Presidential elections.
“These occurrences have ensnared several technologies, IT and social media platforms including Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Twitter just to mention a few.
“Their involvement has had far-reaching political and economic impact which has affected their market capitalisation and consumer confidence.
“It is also in the light of preventing such a scenario involving Nigeria and alibaba.com that I make these appeals. I trust that I can count on your cooperation.
“Thank you and please be assured of my continued admiration and my offer of a right hand of friendship.”
Meanwhile, the INEC had in a statement by Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze Uzzi, on Sunday said ‘the clone and sale of the cards were anticipated and measures have been taken to preserve and further secure electoral materials.”