By Nwafor Sunday
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Monday, charged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to conduct an election devoid of electoral malpractices.
Disclosing this at a press conference organized by the party, to address issues of urgent national importance and alleged claims of fresh threats to the security of our nation by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Kola Ologbondiyan, Director Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, admonished Yakubu not to succumb to pressure especially the allegation that he (Yakubu) is being compromised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Presidency with offers of huge sums of money, choice property within and outside Nigeria, as well as juicy appointments to his relations as bribes, in return for the rigging of the elections in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.
Ologbondiyan advised him to do the country good by conducting a free, fair, credible and transparent election com February 16, 2019.
Read the full statement below:
Call On INEC Chairman To Resist Pressure From APC and Buhari Presidency
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reviewed all the circumstances surrounding the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as presently constituted, and after a careful appraisal of comments by critical national and international stakeholders, we challenge INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to rise above the manifest compromises and conduct the 2019 general elections in a transparent manner.
The entire nation is worried and the palpable fear of every Nigerian today is whether Mahmood Yakubu can conduct an election, which will indeed be free, fair, credible and transparent.
This is particularly as allegations are rife in the public space, that the INEC Chairman is being compromised by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Buhari Presidency with offers of huge sums of money, choice property within and outside Nigeria, as well as juicy appointments to his relations as bribes, in return for the rigging of the elections in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.
The PDP urges Prof. Yakubu to resist any such pressure. This is especially as many Nigerians fear that this is the reason behind the compromising insistence by INEC to lump together the accreditation of voters and voting, a situation that will muddle up the process and pave the way for participation of aliens, underage and unregistered voters and allocate fictitious figures in favour of President Buhari and the APC.
This scenario is also feared to be the reason INEC is succumbing to pressure by the Buhari Presidency to retain Mrs. Amina Zakari, President Buhari’s relation by marriage, as head of the collation center, where she is being positioned to alter genuine results and allocate fictitious figures in favour of President Buhari.
We already have information that the geo-spatial centers created by the INEC Chairman in the six geo-political zones have also been dubiously duplicated by Mrs. Amina Zakari in all the zones from where APC and Buhari Presidency intend to assemble fictitious votes and transmit same to INEC’s data base and situation room.
We are also aware that the process of employing Ad-hoc staff that will function as electoral officers, particularly in the Presidential election have already been compromised to favour the APC under Mahmood Yakubu’s watch to manipulate the process.
Presently, more than half of the card readers to be used in the elections have been rendered obsolete and non-functional. We have less that 30 days to the elections and these card readers have not been upgraded. We have it on good authority that these will be used to create confusion on election days and facilitate the use of incident form, which will hamper transparency.
The PDP, therefore, in the strongest terms, charges Mahmood Yakubu to demonstrate his credibility and ability to conduct free, fair and transparent elections by taking urgent and decisive steps to show that he has not been compromised by the APC and the Buhari Presidency.
To do this, we demand that Prof. Mahmood Yakubu immediately rejig the electoral guidelines in a way that accreditation must be first concluded, number of accredited voters ascertained and openly announced before actual voting. Anything short of this will only validate the position of Nigerians that INEC has been compromised by the APC.
Similarly, Prof. Yakubu cannot claim to be committed to a credible election with the continued stay of Amina Zakari as head of the collation center, in spite of manifest conflict of interest. Prof. Yakubu must without further delay remove Amina Zakari from this sensitive position, if he indeed intends to conduct a credible collation of Presidential results.
Furthermore, to hedge any infraction from the dubious duplication of the geo-spatial centers by Amina Zakari, the PDP insists that INEC’s final collation center must be made open to agents of all the Presidential candidates as well as representatives of national and international observers.
While we note that President Buhari has bowed to pressure by Nigerians and eased out Ibrahim Idris as Inspector General of Police, we urge him to also lend credence to the electoral process by easing out his relation by marriage, Amina Zakari, from INEC.
We are aware that Amina Zakari has since taken over the duties of the INEC Chairman on the behest of the Buhari Presidency. Today, the world has turned our nation to a mockery and they are aghast as how a sitting President can be insisting that his relation must be the retuning officer in an election in which he is going to participate.
In the same vein, following revelations that the process of recruiting INEC Ad-hoc staff has been compromised to favour the APC, the PDP insists that Prof. Yakubu must publish the names of all the ad-hoc staff that have been recruited, in their respective constituencies, to enable voters in those areas to assess the independence and integrity of such electoral officers.
We charge Prof. Yakubu to note that this election is very crucial to the survival of our nation and that he is now at the epicenter of the future of our country. He must therefore rise above offers of compromises surrounding him.
We believe that Prof. Yakubu has a name to protect. He must know that there is a life after office. We hope and pray that he will not end up like the disgraced last Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris. Prof. Yakubu should know that Nigerians will hold him directly responsible if the 2019 general election is derailed.
Claim of Security threats by Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The PDP has noted the address today, by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, acting on behalf of the Buhari Presidency, that some groups are being mobilized to stage violent attacks in various parts of our country.
We have noted the detailing of awareness of the said plots by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, which exposes manifest complicity at very high level.
In the light of this and the already displayed desperation by the APC ahead of the general elections, the PDP calls on Nigerians to hold President Buhari directly responsible for any escalation of violence in our nation.
It is imperative to state that the PDP finds the claims of Alhaji Lai Mohammed, irresponsible and ludicrous. It is just a measure for building the ground for framing up and arrest of leading members of the opposition as he has just confirmed our concerns.
Severally, we have alerted the nation that the APC and the Buhari Presidency, having come to the reality of their imminent and disgraceful loss at the polls have embarked on a strategy to foment crisis in our dear nation and blame the opposition.
The PDP, as known to all Nigerians and the world is a party that preaches and function by peace. We have conducted rallies in many states and geo-political zones without a record of violence. The APC cannot make a similar claim of a peaceful rally in its few attempts at interacting with its members and the public.
Its party primaries ended in violence and multiple deaths. Its rally in Lagos state ended in a fiasco and recorded fatalities. Its Presidential candidate is known all over the world for inciting supporters against peace-loving Nigerians, when he said that baboon and dogs will soak in their blood.
On behalf of Nigerians, we thank Alhaji Lai Mohammed for mustering the courage to bring the nefarious plans of the APC to the public. The PDP and Nigerians are prepared for a peaceful election in defence of our democracy.