The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the opportunity of the rescheduling of the dates for the general elections to investigate the involvement of its officials in the discriminatory issuance of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to non-indigenes in Lagos and other states.
The party also said the shift does not confer any advantage on it as it was ready for the polls before the rescheduling of the dates of the general elections.
In statement by the National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh, the party said: “We demand that INEC should look inwards and thoroughly investigate the apparent involvement of some of its personnel including ad hoc staff on the issue of the lopsided distribution of the PVCs.”
The party said INEC must also use this period to attend to the party’s earlier call to address the issue of denial of PVCs to non-indigenes in some states.
For instance, it said: “We are aware that in Borno State, 90 per cent of the PVCs were handed over to the state government officials, who distributed them by proxy contrary to laid-down procedures.
“Also, in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State, the local government area of our National Woman Leader, only new registered voters have received their PVCs. Citizens with old voters’ cards have not had them replaced and this scenario abounds in other places.
“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 receive their PVCs urgently.
“Also, INEC ahead of the polls, should adequately demonstrate to Nigerians the application and practicability of card readers to the allotted time for vote.”
The ruling said the postponement did not confer any advantage on it and that it should not be described as a set back for democracy in Nigeria.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we state clearly that the postponement neither confers advantage on our party and our candidates, nor can it ever be described as a set back to our democracy. The ultimate issue in this regard is the conduct of free, fair and credible elections,” the party said.
Accordingly, PDP said: “We restate that the PDP position on these issues remains our commitment to the sustenance of free, fair and credible elections, which is one of the greatest legacies of President Goodluck Jonathan.”
PDP also warned against what it described as the politicisation of the rescheduling of the dates of the general elections, saying: “Let nobody irresponsibly politicise what is clearly a practical and administrative decision that affects everyone and all parties equally. At this present time, Nigeria needs men of history and not hysteria.”