The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and hundreds of its members stormed the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday and accused the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, of conspiracy in the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections.
The party, which protested the alleged infractions and deliberate violations of the electoral laws, also accused the commission of alleged plot with All Progressives Congress (APC) to take over states likes Delta, Sokoto, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Kwara, and Rivers, which are strongholds of the PDP.
Armed with a letter, titled, ‘Case of Infractions and Deliberate Violations of the Electoral Law and Guidelines’, signed by the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, and the party’s National Secretary, Ibrahim Umaru Tsauri, the party noted that all the infractions in the last elections were brought before the INEC boss but he kept mute, which portrayed outright conspiracy and collusion with the APC government perpetrators.
The letter reads: “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 centres to the Presidential Collation Centre 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 taxpayers’ money spent to install the facilities.
“The unconstitutional deployment of the armed forces especially soldiers and police for the illegitimate purposes of 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.
“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 centres 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 centres 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, Nasarawa, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Ondo, Osun states et al, results of duly conducted elections were illegally cancelled, 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 voters’ 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 Houses of Assembly elections.
“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 unauthorised 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 bastardisation of the electoral process.”
Secondus reminded the INEC boss that as the nation inches towards Saturday, March 9, 2019 elections, he must do everything to right these grave anomalies to save himself and the commission from the woeful embarrassment as he may go down as the worst chairman of INEC in the nation’s history.
Speaking after submitting the letter, the PDP boss said the party was in possession of credible intelligence that some INEC officials were already working with the APC to again thwart the will of the people in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Rivers, Kwara, and Kaduna states, warning that the commission should know that every action has consequences, both to man and before God.
Secondus told INEC that by conniving with the APC to thwart the will of the Nigerian people, they were piling gunpowder which, when it explodes, may leave the country in ruins.
Secondus, who led members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), other leaders and party supporters in the protest at the INEC’s headquarters in Abuja, told the commission’s officials that came to receive their complaints, that they should not allow their action bring trouble in the country.
The National Chairman said that INEC’s roles in the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23 fell short of the required standard and could not stand any scrutiny.
He emphasised that the leadership of the PDP under his watch had the authority of members of the party across the country and in Diaspora to leave no stone unturned until the stolen mandate of the party was recovered.
“The mood in the country shows clearly that you INEC declared the wrong person winner in the presidential election and I urge you to watch your action because history is recording all you do for posterity.
“The APC is deploying military operatives to help some of your black legs manipulate Saturday’s elections in some states, particularly Kaduna, Delta, Sokoto, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, and Kwara but Nigerians in those states have mobilised to defend their votes,” Secondus said.
Responding on behalf of Prof. Yakubu, INEC National Commissioner on Legal Matters, May Agbamuche-Mbu, assured the PDP and its leadership of a peaceful governorship election.
She urged the party to maintain peace as the country belonged to all.
She said: “INEC has received your complaint. We are going to look at it critically, where we need to change, we will change, where we need to come together, we will come together, and work together.
“This county belongs to all of us and we must protect it with all our might. I believe that on Saturday the elections will go on very well, but our mantra in this election is that we want peace in our country.
“I supervised Rivers and Bayelsa states, so I know what it means to invest in that area, and the people of Rivers and Akwa Ibom know what they want.
“We intend to make this election free and fair election, all we ask is that, for your own sake, too, your mantra should be peace.
“If you bring peace to the people on the field you can be rest assured INEC, on its part, security agencies would do their part.”