Ahead of the governorship and State Assembly polls, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus, Tuesday, accused the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu of deliberate infractions and violations of the electoral law and guidelines.
He also alleged that Mahmood was flouting the electoral law and guidelines to manipulate and rig the 2019 polls for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Secondus made the allegations in a joint letter signed by him and the PDP National Secretary, Sen. Ibrahim Umaru Tsauri, titled, ‘Cases of Infractions and deliberate violations of the Electoral Law and Guidelines’, which he personally submitted to the INEC chairman at the electoral umpire’s headquarters in Abuja.
In the letter, he said, “We want to place on records and bring to your attention the very obvious and noticeable infractions and violations of the Electoral Law and the Regulations/Guidelines regulating the 2019 general elections which have very negative implications on the credibility, transparency and integrity of the entire electoral processes particularly the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“This has become imperative as we approach the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections billed for Saturday, March 9,2019.
“These infractions and deliberate violations include but not limited to the following:
“The non-usage or selective enforcement of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) machines across the country. We observed with regrets that the usage of the SCR machines were enforced strategically in the South-South, South-East and the North-Central zones of the country which are essentially PDP strongholds.
“This is radically different from what transpired in the North-West, North-East and the South-West which were estimated as the APC strongholds.
“This is quite contrary to the provisions of Paragraph 10(a) & (b) of the Regulations and Guidelines governing the 2019 General Elections and all the assurances you, Prof. Yakub Mahmood, frequently gave up to the last hours before the elections.
“The deliberate non-deployment of the Electronic Collation System (E-Collation) for the elections results from the units, through the ward centers to the Presidential Collation Center in Abuja as provided for in the 2019 Electoral Regulations and Guidelines made by you, and as contained in your several official Press Statements is very suspect.
“This is more so when you have never bothered to explain to Nigerians the justification for this sudden official somersault on such a critical component of the electoral process especially with all the tax payer’s money spent to install the facilities.
“The unconstitutional deployment of the armed forces especially soldiers and police for the illegitimate purposes to harassing, intimidating, suppressing of leaders of the PDP and suppression of voters in PDP strongholds across the country which are very well known to you.”
Secondus also further underscored the issue of ill-treatment by the military meted out to the PDP members and some INEC officials in the party’s strongholds across the federation.
He added, “The use of these same security agents by the government to harass and intimidate Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and certain INEC’s National Commissioners for the sake of forcing them to declare votes for the APC’s candidates throughout the country have been officially or otherwise brought to your knowledge by the affected officers who even threatened to resign from their positions, yet you have decided to keep mute over it in a way portraying outright conspiracy and collusion of yourself and the commission with the APC government perpetrators.
“We also want to bring to your knowledge that most of the collation centers in the country were cordoned off by officers and men of the armed forces who chased away accredited agents and or candidates of our party, the PDP, from such centers while the results of the elections from the units were being manipulated, mutilated and altered to suite the dictates and criminal desires of the APC led government.
“These results that were tampered with were accepted by you and your commission and announced as the results of the elections.
“In places like Lagos, Rivers, Nassarawa, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Ondo, Osun States el al, results of duly conducted elections were illegally canceled especially in the PDP dominated areas to reduce the margin of victory in those states in Favour of APC candidates.
“Is it not surprising to you that Lagos state with over six million voters can only return less than one million votes?
“This was the case in virtually all PDP dominated states where voter’s suppression was deployed as a major strategy by you and the APC government in active collaboration of some of your unscrupulous RECs and staffers.
“We are sure that till date the commission does not know the number of polling units where elections were cancelled and the total number of registered voters at such polling units.
“Yet you hurriedly announced the results of the elections especially the Presidential election only to come up with a Press Statement that supplementary elections will be conducted on March 9, 2019 along with the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Elections”.
Part of the letter reads, “This to say the least is a major dent on the credibility and image of the commission.
“Under your watch as Chairman of INEC for the first time in our nation’s history, the election materials of all categories; sensitive and non-sensitive, were contracted to be printed by a person who is not just a card-carrying member of a political party; the APC but also a Senatorial Candidate of the party in Niger State.
“Arising from this, these sensitive materials were seen in several wrong and unauthorized hands and places before and during the elections.
“Till this moment your commission has not raised any concerns or set up any enquiry to uncover the immediate or remote causes of such criminal and unconstitutional bastardization of the electoral process.
“We have taken time to chronicle the above fundamental deliberate violations and infractions of the Electoral Law, Regulations and Guidelines and all known canons of electoral best practices by your Commission in obvious complicity and collaboration with APC and security agencies to rig the elections and rob our party of victory.
“We want to remind you that as we inch towards Saturday, March 9, 2019 elections, you must do everything to right these grave anomalies to save yourself and the commission from this woeful embarrassment as you may go down in history as the worst Chairman of INEC in our history.
“Accept our regards.”