15 February 2018
Nigeria’s major opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to review and sanitise its voters’ register, particularly in Kano and Katsina States to weed out underage voters.
This charge is coming on the heels of viral leaked pictures and videos showing children thumb-printing ballot papers and voting in Kano during the Local Government election recently held in the state.
INEC had in a reaction to the allegation said the images from Kano did not relate in any way to any election organised, conducted or superintended by INEC.
PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday in Abuja told the electoral body not to attempt to absorb itself of blame.
According to Mr. Ologbondiyan, the videos and pictures are showing underage persons thumb-printing ballot papers and casting their votes during the last Saturday local government elections in Kano state.
He asserted that since the video surface, Nigerians have lost confidence in INEC.
Ologbondiyan said reviewing the voters’ register was the only way the commission could demonstrate its independence to Nigerians.
The PDP went on to condemn the commission for attempting to cover its complicity in the “widespread impunity recorded”, particularly underage voting that characterised the state local council elections.
The party said it was INEC that registered the minors as voters in the first place.
Ologbondiyan said, as such the commission should not in any way attempt to exonerate itself of involvement in the electoral fraud, simply because it did not directly conduct the elections.
He condemned a statement by INEC, wherein it tried to exonerate itself of culpability in the participation of minors in the Kano election.
“Is it not INEC that registered the minors and issued them with Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to participate in elections as clearly documented in the Kano council election.
“Can INEC truly acquit itself as the original culprit who set the stage for the eventual participation of the minors and overall rigging of the
elections,” he said.
He said INEC should not give lame excuses or exonerate itself at a time it should be taking decisive steps to protect the sanctity of its sensitive materials such as the PVC.
“Indeed, if this INEC is serious about the sanctity of sensitive electoral materials, by now, it should have ordered the immediate review of its voter register in Kano and Katsina states.
“INEC supposes to be fishing out and prosecuting those who registered the minors and clean up the electoral system in the affected states.”
He accused INEC of allowing itself to be used for irregularities in favour of the ruling party.
This, according to the party, was witnessed in the last Saturday’s Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency Supplementary election in Katsina state.
“Finally, we want INEC to note, and in very strong terms too, that Nigerians will not accept anything short of credible, free and fair general elections.
“The commission should therefore ensure that it does not allow itself to be used by the APC against the will of the people, particularly in the 2019 elections, as such will be highly resisted.”
Author: Janet Johnson
Janet Johnson is a writer who is passionate about helping people and giving solutions to peoples’ needs and problems.
She is an adventurer who would love to see the world one day and probably be an ambassador.