The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of registering and issuing permanent voters card, PVCs, to millions of underage persons, particularly in Kano and Katsina states respectively.
Stressing that it took concerted public outcry before the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led commission accepted responsibility for the illegality, the main opposition party held that INEC has refused to take decisive steps to restore the sanctity of its register, particularly in Kano and Katsina states.
PDP’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, spoke against the backdrop of viral images on the social media which captured underage boys voting in the recent Kano state local council elections. In the heat of criticisms that trailed the underage voting, an INEC chief disclosed that underage voters were registered because the lives of registration officers were threatened by some members of the community.
Ologbondiyan said, “As we speak, 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 Prof. Mahmood 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 Prof. 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. It goes to say that this INEC can readily announce false results, cancel elections, alter polling procedures and allow any irregularities during the 2019 general elections once it is threatened by the All Progressives Congress (APC) or any other group for that matter.
“If INEC is afraid of a voting community so much so that after registering minors, it still went ahead to process their data and issue them with valid voters card, then there is no way it can withstand the pressure and threat that we all know will be exerted by desperate APC forces, whose electoral strength, particularly in Kano and Katsina states, is now exposed to be based on underage voters.
“Consequently, the PDP demands an immediate review of voters register, particularly in Kano and Katsina; we demand a revalidating the voters register to eliminate all the minors and insist that no election must hold in these states until the register is sanitized.
“In order to achieve this, we demand that the revalidation/sanitization by INEC must be carried out under the supervision of all political parties, credible associations, reputable NGOs as well as the international community.
“Also, the plan by INEC to ask EFCC to help them monitor campaign funds is clearly an illegal and Machiavellian way of suppressing opposition’s financial contribution and spending. It is a plot to detain, defame, intimidate and illegally block bank accounts of opposition members under the pretext that they have been mandated by INEC to monitor campaign funds.
“It is trite law that ‘delegatus non potest delegare’. INEC and only INEC has the statutory duty to monitor campaign funds. The commission cannot delegate this function to any other government agency.
“Nigerians have completely lost confidence in INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and we urge him to take the path of honour and do the needful before it becomes too late.”