Supporters ride in a campaign bus of leading opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate Mohammadu Buhari and his running mate Yemi Osinbajo as they drive past a campaign poster of Nigerian President and candidate to his re-elect ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Abuja - The PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, has accused the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC), of poor handling of distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to eligible voters.
Femi Fani-Kayode, Director of Media and Publicity of the organisation, made the accusation at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
He alleged that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, may be working in consonant with some members of the opposition to favour the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The matter is that INEC has failed in its responsibility to produce and distribute PVCs to about 34 per cent of registered voters who would require the cards to vote in the elections.”
“This brings us to the issue of statistics of PVC distribution and collection, which we believe Prof. Jega, as a person, acting in concert with some forces of retrogression, is playing games with.”
“We express our concerns today that Jega may have decided to aid the APC to rig the forthcoming elections through the manipulation of the production, distribution and collection of PVCs,” he said.
Also Read: Yobe residents discouraged from buying PVCs
According to Fani-Kayode, emerging trends had shown calculated attempts to deprive parts of the country that would vote for President Goodluck Jonathan, of their PVCs.
He said that parts of the country that would vote for the APC presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, already have their PVCs.
Fanyi-Kayode described as unjustifiable, attacks on the PDP, on the postponement of the scheduled February 14 and 28 general elections to March 28 and April 11 by the INEC.
According to him, the INEC chairman hinged the postponement on the security advice given by the National Security Adviser with respect to the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.
He said Jega deliberately failed to tell Nigerians the whole truth that underpinned the postponement.
This, he added, provided the opposition APC a platform to accuse the PDP of complicity in the decision to postpone the elections.
He stressed that the decision to postpone the elections was INEC’s, since it was constitutionally saddled with that responsibility.
“The commission has done just that and it had hinted that it was having challenges with the distribution and collection of the PVCs.”
He stressed that the PDP had realised “how Jega dishonestly presented the reasons for the postponement of the elections.”
According to Fani-Kayode, the major reason that informed INEC’s decision “was the deliberate attempt by the commission to disenfranchise over 23 million eligible voters who are yet to collect their PVCs.”
He wondered why the collection rates of PVCs in the North Central, South-South, South West and South East regions assumed to be pro-Jonathan, were much lower with the highest being 57 per cent.
Also Read: PVCs: INEC drops 2 for denying non-indigenes collection
He noted that the North West zone which includes Katsina, the home state of Buhari, APC presidential candidate, had the highest collection rate of 80 per cent.
He also wondered how come the North-East also had 75 per cent collection rate when the three states in this zone, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, had been under the attack of Boko Haram insurgents.
This insurgency, Fani-Kayode noted, had led to the displacement of many residents in the zone.
“Pieces of information at our disposal have shown that Jega has had meetings with APC stalwarts in Dubai and other cities in the world to perfect this wanton conspiracy against 23 million eligible voters.”
“Besides, we have information that the PVCs that Nigerians are scrambling for are not in Nigeria and will not arrive before the elections.”
Also Read: INEC further extends deadline for PVCs collection to March 8
“These PVCs are still in China and Prof Jega has strategically delayed their arrival to suit his electioneering permutations,” he said.
He challenged Jega to show Nigerians proof that the Chinese company printing the PVCs had been paid in full by disclosing the total contract sum and the amount paid to date.
He also charged him to show proof of arrival or expected date of arrival of all PVCs for the elections and tell Nigerians how he could have distributed 23 million PVCs within five days to elections, if not postponed.
“We hereby challenge Jega to be honourable and transparent to publish accurate information on the state of PVCs and how he plans to distribute them before elections.”
“He should respond to allegations of partisanship and ineptitude, and live up to his responsibilities as an independent election umpire. If he refuses to do so, we may end up losing confidence in him,” Fani-Kayode said.