A poster of President Goodluck Jonathan and presidential candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is displayed side by side with leading opposition All Progressive Congress presidential candidate Mohammadu Buhari along the highway in L ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Abuja - The PDP has called on INEC to use the shift of election dates to address complaints surrounding the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) across the states.
The call was contained in a statement issued by Olisa Metuh, the PDP National Publicity Secretary on Sunday in Abuja.
He however, restated the party`s readiness for the polls, adding that it would continue with its rallies, and directed all its candidates to go on with their campaigns across the country.
Metuh, however said that INEC has the powers to take decisions on election matters.
The media reports that INEC, had announced the shift in the election dates to March 28 and April 11, for Presidential and National Assembly and Governorship and State House of Assembly elections respectively.
Prof. Attahiru Jega, INEC Chairman, had cited security in the North-East as the major reason for postponing the election from the earlier scheduled dates of February 14 and February 28.
“This announcement has not come without the attendant cost of time and great expense to our party and candidates nationwide.”
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“However, on account of the reasons adduced by the security forces and INEC, we believe that this shift which is still within the constitutionally allowed period, can be accommodated.”
“The thoughts and prayers of PDP members nationwide and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians, remain with our security agencies as they confront this enormous challenge at this critical period,” he said.
According to him, while we understand and appreciate the security reasons given by INEC for the rescheduling of the elections, we hold the INEC Chairman to his promise.
INEC chairman had said, while announcing the shift, that the commission, would use the period to perfect its systems and processes for conducting the best elections in the country`s history.
Metuh however, demanded that INEC should look inwards and thoroughly investigate the alleged involvement of some of its personnel including ad-hoc staff on the issue of the lopsided distribution of the PVCs.
He urged the commission to also use the period to attend to the PDP earlier call on it, to address the issue of denial of PVCs to non-indigenes in some states.
“We do hope that INEC will use the period to ensure that all identified irregularities are eliminated to guarantee that registered voters across the country received their PVCs urgently,” Metuh said.
The PDP spokesman noted that in Borno, 90 per cent of the PVCs were handed over to state government officials, who distributed them by proxy contrary to laid-down procedures.
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“Also, in Owerri North Local Government of Imo state, the LGA of our National Woman Leader, only new registered voters have received their PVCs.”
“Citizens with old voters’ card have not had a replacement and this scenario abounds in other places,” Metuh said.
The PDP spokesman, added that INEC should ahead of the polls, adequately demonstrate to Nigerians the application and practicability of card readers to the allotted time for vote.
He however, stated that the postponement of the elections neither confers advantage on the PDP and its candidates, nor can it ever be described as a set back to the country`s democracy.
The ultimate issue in this regard Metuh said, was the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.
He further restated that the PDP, was committed to the sustenance of free, fair and credible elections, which is one of the greatest legacies of President Goodluck Jonathan.
He advised against politicising, what was clearly a practical and administrative decision that
affected everyone and all parties equally, adding that Nigeria presently needed: “men of history not hysteria.”