…Calls for review of voters’ register in Kano, Katsina
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Thursday expressed doubt over the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct free and fair elections in 2019.
The party also called for a review of the voters register in Kano and Katsina States to address alleged instances of the registration of under age voters in the recently conducted polls in the two Northwest States.
Addressing a world press conference on Tuesday, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbodiyan lamented the outing of the electoral umpire in recent times even as it called on the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu to “Do the needful” in order to restore the confidence of Nigerians ahead of the general elections.
“Nigerians have completely lost confidence in INEC under Professor Mahmood Yakubu
and we urge him to take the path of honour and do the needful before it becomes too late.
“As you are aware, INEC has been indicted for registering and issuing permanent voters card (PVCs) to millions of underage persons, particularly in Kano and Katsina States respectively.
“However, INEC has refused to take decisive steps to restore the sanctity of its register, particularly in Kano and Katsina states, but has rather made a puerile explanation of plans to investigate the allegation,” Ologbondiyan said.
While dismissing the reason advanced by INEC to justify the registration of minors in the States aforementioned, the PDP said Professor Yakubu’s reign at the commission is no longer tenable.
“The credibility of our electoral process under the current INEC is hugely in doubt. The nation was last Wednesday terrified by the commission’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, who announced that INEC registered minors because its agents were threatened by members of the communities in those States.
“By this alarming and unpatriotic statement, INEC under Professor Yakubu has completely discredited and disqualified itself and cannot be trusted to conduct a credible, free and fair general elections in 2019.
“The import of this statement is that INEC under Professor Yakubu is not firm in its acts and will consequently cave in and accept any form of irregularities once it is put under pressure by members of a voting community.”
The party also took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration, saying its performance claims are intended to deceive gullible Nigerians ahead of the polls.
“We have information that forces at the Presidency and the leadership of the APC, having failed to record any meaningful achievement in their three years of failed governance, and having realized that they have nothing on which to anchor their ill-lucked 2019 re-election bid, have mobilized their agents to commence the falsification of economic and development indices across all sectors, with a view to create a false sense of performance,” the publicity scribe added.
The PDP also condemned what it called the impunity of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration saying it has uncovered plans by government to demolish properties owned by some of its vocal critics.
“We want to inform Nigerians of the intolerance trend adopted by APC and its government in some states that are now demolishing property belonging to opposition members and perceived opponents of their 2019 re-election bid.
“This morning, Kaduna state governor Nasir el-Rufai was reported to have
detailed bulldozers and armored tanks to demolish a property belonging to Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi perceived to be against his 2019 re-election bid.
“In Adamawa, the state government has pulled down billboards and signposts belonging to opposition parties while harassing our members and perceived political opponents ahead of President Buhari state visit.
“In January this year, Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima superintended over the demolition of PDP state secretariat in Maiduguri following the renewed popularity of our party in the state.
“In Kogi, a property belonging to Senator Dino Melaye, who is known for his criticism of the APC derailed government, has been marked for demolition,” it added.