The leading opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that Nigerians will not accept anything short of credible, free and fair general election in 2019.
PDP gave the warning just as it also advised INEC that it should not allow itself to be used against the will of the people by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2019 election.
The position of the party is contained in a statement issued by his National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday.
The statement was issued in reaction to the argument by INEC that it could not be held responsible for the voting by the underage in Saturday election in Kano State.
His words: “Finally, we want INEC to note, and in very strong terms too, that Nigerians will not accept anything short of credible, free and fair general election.
“The commission should therefore ensure that it does not allow itself to be used by the APC against the will of the people, particularly in the 2019 elections, as such will be highly resisted.”
Expressing its annoyance over the irregularities in the elections in Kano and Katsina on Saturday, Ologbondiyan said the PDP decried the alleged attempt by INEC to cover its involvement.
The party said it was INEC that registered the minors as voters in the first place and as such should not in any way attempt to exonerate itself of involvement in the electoral fraud.
It said the fact that it did not directly conduct the elections did not make it to be free of blame.
The party said it had become obvious that INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was “completely unreliable and cannot be trusted.”
“We ask: Who is fooling who? Is it not INEC that registered the minors and issued them with Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC) to participate in elections as clearly documented in the Kano council election? Can INEC truly acquit itself as the original culprit who set the stage for the eventual participation of the minors and overall rigging of the elections?
“By resorting to lame excuses and trying to exonerate itself at a time it should be taking decisive steps to protect the sanctity of its sensitive materials such as the PVC, this INEC has shown that it cannot be relied upon as a responsible and trustworthy electoral umpire,” the party stated.
PDP said if INEC was serious about the sanctity of sensitive electoral materials, it should have ordered the immediate review of its voter register in Kano and Katsina states.
It said that it would have also fished out those responsible and prosecuted those who registered the minors, and clean up the electoral system in the affected states.
“Viewed alongside series of numerous other irregularities being allowed by INEC to favour the ruling APC, including alleged conspiracy with APC-controlled security operatives to intimidate opposition members and manipulate elections as witnessed in the last Saturday’s Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency Supplementary election in Katsina state, any reasonable person will decode that INEC, as presently constituted, has serious questions to answer, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections.
“While we now hold the statement by INEC as part of our strong evidence of irregularities and violations in the elections, we charge the commission to redeem its name by immediately reviewing and sanitising its voter registers in affected states, particularly, Kano and Katsina, as that is the only way it can demonstrate its dependability to Nigerians,” PDP said.