Main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP caucus in the House of Representatives has called for the cancellation of the November 16, 2019, gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa state, saying the exercises fell below electoral standards.
The caucus accused the government of using the security agencies to intimidate the electorate and influenced the outcomes of the polls in the favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
In a statement by its leader, Rep. Kingsley Chinda, the caucus said that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC led government has destroyed all known democratic tenets, norms and conventions in Nigeria.
The opposition caucus regretted that the government of the day had jettisoned significant changes introduced by the PDP government, accusing the Buhari of having plans to elongate his tenure beyond 2023.
Cancel Kogi, Bayelsa Guber polls
The statement read thus: “Reports by the field agents of the PDP in both Kogi and Bayelsa, which were largely validated by the diplomatic and temperate views of both local and international observers, show the following: Systematic abuse of the electoral process: Card readers were largely ignored in area that President Buhari’s, All Progressive Congress (APC) thought it had comparative advantage while subjecting areas believed to be the strongholds of the PDP to the use of smart readers, which usually malfunctioned or were deliberately calibrated to frustrate voters not to vote.
“Violence: In addition, in areas where the APC thought it did not have much support, it unleashed violence on the people. Some instances burning of PDP women leader etc regrettably, these dastardly acts were done with the connivance or complicity of security agents. The inability of the security agencies to protect the sanctity of the electoral process even when there was an offseason election.
“We have no hesitation in aligning ourselves with the conclusion of the Nigerian Civil Society situation room that the elections fall below the standards expected for free, fair and credible elections.
“Kogi State election represents a major dent on Nigeria’s democratic process.
“We are therefore joining our voice to the clarion call across the land and even internationally, for the cancellation, in its entirety of the Kogi State elections conducted on November 16, 2019. The novel and indeed, criminal conduct of “community voting” in Bayelsa State, a situation where political entrepreneurs with the active connivance of security agencies force people to vote for preferred candidates offends the fundamental human rights of people to choice as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which all security agents, President Muhammadu Buhari and INEC officials unclose swore to protect. This by any stretch of the imagination, cannot be regarded, like an election. There is, therefore, no reason to allow the Bayelsa elections to stand. These elections make Nigeria a laughing stock!!”
How Buhari jettisoned Card Reader machine
“Unfortunately for Nigeria and Nigerians, the major beneficiary of the electoral reform, President Muhammadu Buhari used the greater part of his tenure to relentlessly work to undermine the credibility of the electoral process, reduce democratic space, destroy press freedom and as well destroy the little that is left of the integrity of the judiciary. You will recall, Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, that President Muhammadu Buhari, has jettisoned the innovation of the smart card reader, which weeded out fake voters. After the Supreme Court ruled that card readers are alien to the electoral law, the 8th National Assembly sought to correct that by empowering the INEC to use the card reader but for four times President Buhari vetoed the electoral Act on flimsy and inexcusable grounds. As a matter of fact even after the National Assembly conceded to all his suggestions, he still vetoed the bill.
Buhari’s third term agenda
“Little did we know that he had planned on returning himself to power willy nilly. We have now found out that we were wrong to have assumed that the abuse of power and desecration of the electoral system and our values will end with the Presidential elections. Now there is no reason why we should not seriously consider the wild allegations that the APC is rehearsing strategies for tenure elongation.
“Those who thought that because he had won the second term, President Buhari would make a casual and perfunctory gesture for electoral reforms have been thoroughly disgraced and disappointed by the unprecedented violation of the right and dignity of the peoples of Kogi and Bayelsa States. The wanton destruction of properties of the people, as well as the denial of the right of the people to choose for themselves, reflects the degeneration. The reformed electoral system inherited by President Buhari has been completely eroded since he emerged as President.”
Buhari should forward a bill to NASS for compulsory use of card reader
“Furthermore, we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take actions that will stop the slide of the country into anarchy! The growing sense of insecurity and injustice will definitely give birth to the lawlessness that Nigeria can ill afford to joke with, especially as our unemployment figures keep soaring and the economic fortunes of the country keep dwindling. For a start, the President should forward an executive bill to the National Assembly, on electoral reforms, which must include the compulsory use of card readers in all polling units.
Visa Ban on corrupt INEC officials, Security operatives, others
“Ladies and Gentlemen given the networked nature of the present global system, there is no doubt that the growing insecurity will have a spillover effect outside Nigeria. The comity of nations needs to be concerned about Nigeria, for it also has the moral obligation and the responsibility to protect Nigerians from the flagrant abuses of human rights, including wanton killings of innocent people, often perpetrated by secretary agents. We are therefore calling on all nations that wish Nigeria well to join the USA and immediately consider, the imposition of Visa bans and travel restrictions on all individuals within the Independent Electoral Commission, Security Agencies, and politicians of all political parties who are involved in any form of electoral offences and violence. This will prove to Nigerians that the world is standing with them, and deter future occurrences.
“We wish to condole the people who lost their family members in the last week’s show of shame and we call on Nigerian’s to stand fast on democracy and keep sacrificing for us to have a Nigeria that is free and prosperous.”