Joseph Erunke – Abuja
There was a major crack among the country’s opposition political parties on Sunday after 55 national chairmen of political parties rejected the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) call for the resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
The PDP had last Thursday asked the INEC chief to resign over statements allegedly credited to two INEC Commissioners; Festus Okoye and Haruna Mohammed, that the “card readers were circumvented” in elections conducted by the Commission.
The party, in a statement issued on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the statements were admissions that the November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa, as well as the Kogi West senatorial polls, were rigged.
But the 55 party chairmen, who came together under the aegis of Forum of Chairmen of Nigeria Political Parties, disagreed with the PDP on the call and rejected the party’s position on the efficacy of the smart card reader used at the polls.
The Chairman of the forum, Chief Perry Opara, in a statement issued on Sunday on behalf of the group, insisted that the PDP’s position was not only in bad faith but did not also represent the forum.
The statement read: “It is clear to even less political minds that the smart card reader’s efficacy has been politically and judicially neutralized and it must be mentioned that this was largely done by members of the PDP who argued before the Supreme Court against its relevance in relation to the voter register.
“The Supreme Court only agreed with the arguments of the PDP and therefore neutralized the smart card reader.
“The PDP should therefore not run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. The PDP cannot be crying wolf now when it earlier celebrated the judgments which nullified the Card Readers as a victory for democracy.
“The position of the Supreme Court which for now is the law makes the voter register the final proof of the accreditation of voters. Hence, making the record of the card reader inadmissible in court as proof of accreditation.”