Adams Oshiomhole, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of conniving with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to postpone the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
According to Oshiomhole, INEC had informed the PDP earlier before the postponement.
“From all we have now known, I can put my hand on the Holy Koran that INEC leadership knew that they were going to postpone the elections. They shared this information with the Peoples Democratic Party and advised them not to waste their resources, while pretending to us that they are on top of the situation.
“Anytime we raised observation, they were on top of the situation, whereas they were on top of this arrangement that was meant to create confusion across the country. I think INEC deserves to make an explanation to us, not because we are a governing party, but because we are a major player. Whatever information INEC conveyed to PDP, they ought to have conveyed it to us.
“Mr. President, what INEC is doing in collusion with PDP is to get PDP to be shouting that they want INEC Chairman removed and all sorts of fake attacks; that they want the INEC Chairman to go. If you ask me as APC Chairman too, I second Secondus. I have no difficulties seconding Secondus to have a new INEC Chairman, if that’s what we need to have a credible election. But this is a fake posturing, because in truth, when I listen to Secondus talk about removing the INEC Chairman, I listen to PDP rep, Chidoka, at the briefing and he was busy commending and congratulating INEC for the courage. If we commend people for courage for cancelling what was meant to be, what do we do when they are successful?
“So, all of these show the contradictions. Mr. President, it will be such a tragedy if, as a ruling party, we cannot complain of being rigged out, yet all the early warning indicators are there that this INEC leadership is up for a game.”
The APC National Chairman who spoke in Abuja on Monday at the party’s national caucus meeting also alleges that some Resident Electoral Commissioners in some states have been compromised.
He further questioned the preparedness of INEC for the forthcoming February 23 polls.
Oshiomhole alleged that the ballot papers for the elections had been sighted in some places and could be used to compromise the elections.
“Now my question, having sighted a copy or a sample of the ballot papers and of the result sheets, what is INEC doing differently to ensure that those who have already seen those samples will not go to ‘Amadi layout’ to go and try to print a sample of the one they have seen?
“INEC, having violated our confidence, they now must earn it or re-earn it and sustain it every day the same way.
“So, we are going to write INEC to demand a small meeting not to be a meeting of not more than 1,000 people in a conference hall, face-to-face to speak to specific details.
“One, we have been told that they would re-configure card readers and we were told that they were like about 180,000 and there are two issues. One, INEC have you started? When will you finish this configuration? If they are 180,000, it means the extra is only 4,000 since we have 176,000 polling booths. What is the basis for only making allowance for only 4,000? Is this based on past experience?”
“Mr President, why we need concrete answers to all these questions is that, in the absence of incident forms, should there be more card reader failure over and above 4,000, what is INEC’s contingency plan to deal with that? We don’t want staggered elections. We want nationwide elections, same time, same day all over the country. So, INEC needs to brief us on the basis for this small addition. Every card reader should have a spare. So, if we have 176,000 polling units, we want to have 176,000 spares. So, whenever one fails, the other one can be used.”
“I am much more determined that our message to the Nigerian people, we must revive it, we must insist these elections are conducted properly, some INEC RECs have been compromised…”
Regarding the continuation of campaign before the reschedule 23 February elections, Oshiomhole said; “The laws made by our parliament are superior to the opinions of the INEC chairman (with all due respect to his office). The extant provision of the law is clear. When you postpone elections, it had happened before; the law says you are entitled to renew campaigns up to 24 hours before the date of the elections. It did not say you would stop campaigns on the 15th of February regardless of when the elections will actually take place.
“To ask us as a political party not to go out, remember our people might have forgotten and the result could be very very low turnout. That is not good for a party that has huge support base. It can only be good for a party that is not sure of its level of grass-roots support. So, without consulting INEC, we are proceeding and we are ready to meet them in court because they cannot by administrative fiat amend or distort extant provisions of the Electoral Act and those laws are not secret to INEC.”