The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, has challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to initiate Electoral Act amendment to legalise electronic voting for free, fair and credible elections.
The chairman alerted the INEC that the PDP may not feel confidence to participate in future elections based on it fears that transparent and credible polls would not be guaranteed as the failure to deploy e-voting opens the process to manipulation.
The PDP averred that what happened in Osun, Ekiti, Bayelsa and Kogi states were not democratic enough to guarantee future participation in elections by the opposition political parties.
Secondus, who made the call when he received INEC verification team at the party headquarters, Wadata Plaza, Abuja, Monday, disclosed that “as an opposition party it has not been easy operating under a ruling party whose understanding of democracy is impunity, intimidation and coercion.
“We are standing vindicated in the eyes of many electoral watchers as all our fears and apprehensions ahead of election came to fruition in the general election of February and March this year, the preceding governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states earlier and the latest being the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa and Kogi states”, he added
The PDP chairman also lamented that, “despite a standing lawful court ruling that military should be kept at a distance during elections as secondary security, we have all watched how they not only took over the primary security role from the Police but in some instances dictated and even connived with some INEC officials.
Secondus claimed “Nigerians have watched how the electoral body unable to control the military relinquished their responsibility to them and still curiously went ahead to authenticate such fraud.
“I am not going to bore you with issues that are well known to your commission in your reviews of elections but I would like to urge your commission to move quickly and initiate Electoral Act amendment that will legalise electronic voting and remove the influence of the military as primary security on the Election Day.
“The ruling APC, unlike the PDP, is not disposed to any electoral law that will prevent them from manipulating the system, we in PDP expect INEC to be at the forefront of the process to have legal frame work for the conduct of free, fair and credible election.
“Such legal framework should address the issue of security, electronic voting and collation of results and punishment for electoral offenders,” he said adding that credible elections would ensure a stable democracy.
Also, Secondus cautioned that the survival and sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy rests squarely on the integrity of the electoral commission, stressing stability of the system and its integrity would derive from the character and the impartiality of its operatives.
“INEC as presently constituted has integrity questions. Some of the staff have compromised their offices. We advise that INEC should go back to the drawing board and consider the past elections it has conducted.
“Even INEC needs a reform. We can’t continue this way. Is either we practice the American model or adopt the Egyptian model where soldiers shall be part and parcel of the election process.”
On his part, the leader of the INEC delegation, Deputy Director Election and Party Monitoring, Musa Husunu, noted that they would convey all the grievances and suggestions of the PDP to INEC leadership.
Husunu explained that they came to PDP as part of the ongoing verification exercise for the 91 political parties In Nigeria.
He said parties must show evidence of headquarters in Abuja, five copies of the constitution, list of NEC members, physical presence of all NWC members, Book of accounts, and then go round.