Uche Secondus: PDP May Not Participate In Future Elections
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday expressed fears of participating in the upcoming gubernatorial elections being planned for Edo and Ondo states in 2020. It also re-echoed its disappointment in the conduct of the just concluded Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. PDP, therefore, tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to embark on electoral amendment through the National Assembly to address most of the challenges in conducting elections in the country.
The PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus said this while addressing INEC delegation who came to carry out a routine verification exercise at the party’s national headquarters in Abuja. While addressing some of the operatives of the electoral umpire, Secondus alleged that the INEC integrity was at stake given the trajectory of elections it has conducted so far in the country. He pointed out that some of the INEC staff have compromised their offices. In his words, “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. Further, the PDP National Chairman affirmed it was time for INEC to submit the necessary amendments to the National Assembly so that an improved legal framework can be put in place for a free and fair election to be achieved. He, however, added that the conduct of the 2019 general elections set Nigeria backwards. Some of the bitter lessons, according to Secondus, are: thuggery, killing, militarisation of voting scenes and disruptions of voting process. Others are the alleged INEC involvement in operating the APC agenda, brigandage, intimidation, coercion and manipulation of results, hijacking of election materials and deployment of military helicopters among others. It was on this premise that the PDP advocated for the legalization of electronic voting and ban on military participation in elections.
In his reaction, the INEC Deputy Director, Election and Party Monitoring who headed the delegation, Musa Husunu said all the comments, observations and concerns of the PDP would be considered. Husunu, however, reeled out things the INEC team came to do as a matter of routine verification exercise to include evidence of office headquarters, 5 copies of the party’s constitution, list of NEC committee members, physical presence of NEC members, membership registration and books of account. But 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.