23 February 2018

Nigeria: INEC Planning to Rig 2019 Polls - PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has again called to question the competence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to credibly deliver on the 2019 general elections as an unbiased and impartial umpire.

This is even as the party yesterday declared its readiness to reveal "A credible report" against the Professor Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC at the appropriate time, unless and until the commission demonstrates sufficient proof of its partisan neutrality ahead of the 2019 polls.

Briefing members of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party, PDP national chairman Uche Secondus said the alleged registration of minors by INEC in recent elections held in Kano and Katsina States has elicited doubt about the electoral umpire's competence for the assignment before it.

"We are ready to let the world know that INEC is prepared to rig elections in 2019. INEC is doing everything on the negative side against Nigerians to rig elections in 2019 and we will come up at the appropriate time to show the data to prove that.

"You are aware that in the last local government election in Kano States, that the under aged voted and never in the history of any election in the world would you take children out en-mass and you give them voter's card to vote in an election. It happened in 2015, it will not happen again in 2019.

"If they don't have enough explanation to give to Nigerians, then we shall call on the international community to look at the electoral body. We are ready, determined and resolved to resist all the illegalities in this country," Secondus said amidst a prolonged applause from party faithful gathered at the NEC hall of the party.

While charging members of the BoT to hit the ground running, the PDP boss explained the imperative of grassroots mobilization, noting that the era of easy politics was over. He tasked them to take the message of a re-branded PDP to their various constituencies, insisting that until this was done, the slogan of the PDP, "Power to the people," is meaningless

"Our experience shows clearly that over the years, gradually power came from all the 120,000 polling units, and all the 9,000 wards down to our national Secretariat at Wadata and Wadata became so powerful that it could decide whatever and that taking decisions at the local level didn't matter.

"We have agreed and resolved that we are going to take the power back to the people. Let the people make their choices and let them decide and take their decision so that the party can be strengthened not here at Wadata. What is important and what we are going to emphasize is at the polling units and electoral wards. That is where the votes will come from and that is where the votes will be counted," he added.

The alleged misconducts of INEC notwithstanding, Secondus tasked party members to educate the people on the importance of getting their Permanent Voter's Card, noting that the National Working Committee (NWC) under his watch would reward members who work towards victory for the party.

He continued, "We are aware of the attitude of the federal government, especially INEC and the security agencies. They are not friendly at all to Nigerians not to talk about being friendly to PDP.

"We must encourage our members, our constituencies to get their voter's cards which INEC is in charge of. We are coming up with data on details of distribution and how they have cornered some of these voters' cards to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP's) camps

"We have also developed a new reward system. In the time past, people will labour and work for the party; others will come and enjoy it. Unless you deliver your units, unless you deliver your constituency, you may not be recognized because what counts is the number of votes."

He further briefed the "Conscience of the party" as the BoT is fondly referred to on steps being taken by the NWC to boost the party's membership base across Nigeria ahead of the 2019 saying "Part of the reforms which the current NWC will embark on is the new biometrics membership online registration. It is important, it is in our constitution and we are ready to embark on it. It will open the political space to everyone, to all Nigerians who are ready to register."

On the amended electoral act which altered the sequence of elections, the PDP boss lauded the input of the National Assembly, adding that, lawmakers were elected to make laws not for the Presidency but for the people on whose mandate they got into the hallowed chambers.

His words: "I don't know those who want to quarrel with that (the amended act). National Assembly members are elected by their own people across the country to make laws for Nigerians, not making laws for the cabals or the Presidency. The interest of our nation must be uppermost. They deemed it necessary and they made law for the 180 million people. So we want to urge Mr. President to sign that bill into law because the bill belongs to the people, the law is for the people."

APC has failed on all fronts-Fayose, Ekweramadu, Akpabio

Meanwhile, PDP chieftains yesterday chided the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in the more than two years of its assumption of office, saying it has failed to deliver on promises made to the electorate. They stated this yesterday at the 78th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting which held at the party's national secretariat, Abuja.

Ekiti State Governor and chairman, PDP Governors' Forum Fayose while lamenting the pain occasioned by job losses in the country tasked leaders of the party to make the life difficult for the APC by constantly speaking up on the ills bedeviling the nation.

According to him, the hunger in the land has never been worse, stating that Nigerians are only awaiting the opportunity to vote out the APC in 2019.

"There are no jobs and the people are not happy. We must continue to talk and put them on the defense all the time. In my State, petrol sold for almost N500 per litre until I went to the various filling stations to plead with them to bring it down to at least N250," he said.

Also speaking, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweramadu lamented the increasing wave of criminality in the land, noting that the PDP as a party must brace up for the task of returning to reposition the nation to greatness once again. According to him, the PDP would stop at nothing to ensure that Nigerians are delivered from the pangs of hopelessness which he said the ruling APC epitomizes.

Like Ekweramadu, Senate Minority whip, Godswill Akpabio said nepotism under the leadership of President Buhari has been elevated to statecraft; a development, he said, largely accounts for the divisions currently threatening to tear the country apart.

"When we were in power, every part of the country had a sense of belonging. No part was left out unlike what we are witnessing today. We have the opportunity to correct all these when by the grace of God, we return in 2019," he stated.

Presents at the NEC meeting were Governors Ayodele Fayose, Nyesom Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu, Ifeanyi Okowa, Dave Umahi, and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Ekiti, Rivers, Abia, Delta, Ebonyi and Gombe States respectively. Others were former governors Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Celestine Omehia (Rivers), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) as well as ex- Ministers and former National Assembly members.

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